BLACKFOOT — They wear the same uniform, receive the same training and are as qualified as any Bingham County deputy sheriff—only they are volunteers.
There are eight volunteer deputies in the Bingham County Sheriff Reserve Deputy Program. The program was originally started as a way to help fill vacancies within the department with qualified deputies. The reserve deputies also provide support to full-time deputies by covering high school sporting events, providing extra patrols during the Eastern Idaho State Fair and whenever additional deputies are needed.
"It takes someone who really has a desire to be a servant of the community," Sheriff Dave Johnson said. "It's takes dedicated people to do it."
Reserve Deputy Jeff Katseanes was recognized Thursday night by the sheriff for his dedication. Katseanes has served as president of the reserves and has served as a reserve deputy for 16 years.
"This is what I chose to do to give back to the community," Katseanes said.
The program has had its ups and downs over the years, but Katseanes said they have received great support and training from the department. He has also made a lot of friends through his service.
"Some of the best memories in my life have come wearing this uniform," Katseanes said.
Johnson appointed two-year Reserve Deputy Stephanie Morgan as the program's new president.
"Stephanie has put in a lot of time in this program," Johnson said.
Morgan, who has worked five years as a dispatcher, said she ultimately plans to become a deputy sheriff.
"Law enforcement has always been a part of my life," Morgan said. "It's just a good opportunity to get involved in the community and help out."
The reserve deputies are required to complete 10 hours of training each month. There are two levels of reserve deputies—those with 80 hours of training can perform certain tasks and those who are certified through the Peace Officer Standards and Training program can exercise all the same abilities as a full-time deputy.
Deputy Gary Yancey oversees the reserve deputy program and Sgt. Brennon Jones is the reserves commander. Most of their training is completed in-house with certified instructors.
"It's very well-appreciated," Johnson said.