By Charlie Warner
Argus News Editor
Recently Caledonia residents and businesses received a solicitation letter. No, this wasn’t some fraudulent scheme designed to pull money from the community for a bogus cause. This letter is legit and one everyone should consider responding to.
Once a year the Caledonia Police Reserves send out a letter asking local residents and businesses to help support their organization with a monetary donation, and possibly a few more members.
According to Caledonia Police Department Officer Chad Heuser, who serves as the Reserve’s liaison, the Caledonia Police Reserves is an all-volunteer organization. Members assist the local police department, as well as those in surrounding communities in many ways. They assist with patrol duty, help with traffic control at numerous community events, including the Winter Wonderland Parade, parades in Spring Grove, Houston and La Crescent, the Houston Triathlon and the Houston County Fair.
The Reserves sponsor the bicycle safety program and also help with the annual National Night Out, where they donate a new boys and girls bike that is raffled off.
Money raised from the solicitation drive helps send kids to camp, and also with the purchasing of uniforms, maintaining and replacing equipment.
To become a Reserve member, a person must be 18 years or older, have a current Minnesota driver’s license, not have a criminal record and must fill out an application at the Caledonia Police Department. A background check will then be conducted. After that it’s “hands-on” training.
Currently, the Reserves only have seven members. Heuser said they’d like to get their numbers up to a dozen or more members.
“This is a very good starting point for someone who might be thinking about getting into law enforcement,” Heuser explained. The new recruits ride with police officers, giving them a chance to get exposed to some of the nuances of police work.
They also receive some training in hand-to-hand combat, take downs, how to handcuff someone and the proper procedures of putting someone in a squad car.
Heuser, who was interested in law enforcement for many years, first got exposed to his career through the Caledonia Police Reserves program. Another young man, Eddie Hodges, has joined the Reserves. Hodges is working on earning his law enforcement degree and spends as much time as possible learning the ropes through the Reserves.
“The beauty of the Reserves program is you get so much valuable experience,” Caledonia Police Chief Kurt Zehnder said. “This is something you can put on your resume. They’ll know that you know the basics, how to operate the emergency lights on a squad car, the radio codes and other day to day procedures. It’s a great program for persons interested in making law enforcement a career and also for folks who just want to help out their community.”
Current Reserves members are Matt Schellsmidt, Randi Vick, Ronald Freigo, Eddie Hodges, Jon Stahnke, Michael Carmack and Shane Bublitz.
The Reserves meet once a month. For more information, persons should contact Heuser at the Caledonia Police Department.
And remember to send in a donation. The Reserves need your support.
You can contact Charlie Warner at [email protected]