California Penal Code Section 830.6 gives local agencies the authority to appoint reserve officers. All law enforcement operations in the State of California are governed by the Commission on Police Officer Standards and Training (POST). Accordingly, POST has defined and sought legislation regarding reserve peace officers. Presently (effective July 1, 1999), there are three basic levels of reserve officers. Accordingly, a new series of reserve academy courses titled Modules I, II, and III have been introduced. These standards are taught through community colleges and academies such as the Martinez Regional Criminal Justice Training Center, South Bay Regional Public Safety Training Consortium, Santa Rosa Junior College Police Academy, and the College of San Mateo Police Academy. Most of the reserve academies offer courses in evening and weekend formats.
Based upon satisfactory completion of the specific reserve academy modules, reserve officers may be appointed as one of four different levels of reserve peace officer. The four levels are as follows:
Designated Level I
Level I reserve officers may work alone and perform the same duties as a regular officer. Designated Level I's is the only reserve status which has the same 24 hour a day authority as a regular officer, all other reserve levels have peace officer powers only while working. They must hold a Basic Certificate (from a standard police academy) or its equivalency (modular format academy- minimum of 727 hours combined). Successful completion of Reserve Academy Modules I, II, and III is the equivalency of the Basic Course.
Non-Designated Level I
Non-designated Level I reserve officers may work alone and perform the same duties as a regular officer. They must graduate from a Basic Course or its equivalency (modular format academy). As mentioned above, the primary difference between Designated and Non-designated Level I reserve officers is that Designated Level I reserve officers are granted peace officer authority 24 hours a day (just like regular officers) while Non-designated Level I reserve officers only have peace officer authority while on duty.
Level II reserve officers may perform general law enforcement tasks when working with another officer possessing a Basic Peace Officer Certificate. They must graduate from Reserve Training Modules II and III (minimum of 333 hours combined) plus they must be in a continuous field training program when performing general law enforcement tasks.
Level III reserve officers are deployed and authorized only to carry out limited duties not requiring general law enforcement powers in the routine performance. They must graduate from Reserve Training Module III (minimum of 144 hours).
The City of Walnut Creek has not enacted an ordinance which allows for a Designated Level I reserve officer. Currently, the highest level achievable by a reserve officer in Walnut Creek is Non-Designated Level I.