118 – Reserve Deputy Program

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I.             Purpose

This policy establishes and describes the duties and functions of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Reserve Command. This is a volunteer program composed of certified, trained personnel with the stated goal of providing supplemental support to the full-time HCSO staff.

A.           The Sheriff has established a reserve law enforcement command that will hereafter be known as the HCSO Reserve Command.

B.           The HCSO Reserve Command will be composed of an all-volunteer force.

C.           The HCSO Reserve Command members must volunteer their time and services to the Sheriff without financial compensation.

D.           Reserve deputies serve at the discretion of the Sheriff.  The Sheriff will determine the fitness of all persons to serve in the Reserve Command and maintains the right and authority to appoint and revoke such appointments.  These decisions are final.  A reserve deputy has no right of appeal from appointment and revocation decisions.  

E.            All members of the HCSO Reserve Command will be governed by the HCSO written policies and directives.

F.            The HCSO will utilize reserve deputies to supplement full-time personnel and provide additional assistance for special events and emergencies.

II.           Policy

A.           All reserve deputies performing duties for the HCSO, regardless of assignment or function, will comply with all applicable Federal, state, and local laws, to include all HCSO policies, procedures, and directives.

B.           Reserve deputies will support all areas of the HCSO as deemed necessary by the Sheriff.

C.           Reserve deputies are subject to call-out for critical situations including: man-made or natural disasters, search and rescue missions, and any circumstances deemed necessary by the Sheriff.

D.           Approved Duties:

1.            All reserve deputies will be assigned to a bureau within the HCSO. The scope of duties of a reserve deputy will be in accordance with the requirements of the assignment and will be comparable to the duties required of a regular, full-time deputy.

2.            The duties of reserve deputies on call-out, special events, and any other situation deemed necessary by the Sheriff will be governed by HCSO procedures, policies, and directives.

E.            Organization Staff:

1.            Reserve Command personnel will maintain the same rank structure designated for regular, full-time HCSO personnel.

2.            A reserve deputy on duty is subject to direct supervision of their immediate supervisor in the division or bureau assigned.

3.            Reserve deputies of any rank may not exercise any supervisory authority over regular deputies, unless previously authorized by the Sheriff or Chief Deputy.

F.            Selection Criteria for Reserve Deputy Sheriff:

1.            Applicants will submit a completed HCSO application to the Reserve Command.

2.            All applicants will be subject to all qualifications for employment required by the HCSO.

3.            All criteria used to select reserve deputies will be the same as used to select full-time, regular deputies.

4.            A reserve deputy must complete the same required training as mandated by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) as prescribed for full-time, regular deputies.

5.            If a TCOLE license was obtained from a source other than the HCSO, the Sheriff will reserve the right to require that person to attend the HCSO Academy before commissioning that person to the Reserve Command.

6.            At any time the deputy’s commission is revoked or suspended, the HCSO will notify TCOLE in writing to inform the Commission of the change of status.

G.           Reserve Command Training:

1.            Each reserve deputy will receive mandated in-service training hours required of all full-time, regular sworn deputies consistent with TCOLE and HCSO policies. This training also includes basic, intermediate, and advanced training programs.

2.            No reserve deputy will be commissioned, authorized to carry a weapon, or make arrests prior to receiving the required training, demonstrating weapons proficiency, and successfully passing the TCOLE licensing examination.

3.            Training will be conducted at the HCSO Training Academy or as directed by the Sheriff or designee.

4.            The training scheduled may vary to accommodate the reserve or HCSO needs.

5.            All training will be consistent with TCOLE rules and regulations. Any training exceeding TCOLE standards will be prescribed by the HCSO. All reserve training will meet the same curriculum standard as provided to regular, full-time deputies.

6.            Reserve deputies will demonstrate the skills required and proficiency with all weapons used in accordance with HCSO policy.

H.           Uniforms and Equipment:

1.            All reserve deputies will be issued standard uniform attire as required by the HCSO.

2.            All reserve deputies will comply with the dress code and county property policies in the appropriation, use, and care of HCSO uniforms, property, and equipment.

3.            Deputies who are members of the HCSO Reserves and hold supervisory rank will wear the uniform of a deputy without supervisor rank while they are working in their capacity as a peace officer for this agency in any uniformed role.

4.            The HCSO will provide the same liability protection as all other full-time, regular deputies performing within the scope of their duties.

I.             General:

1.            Upon acceptance in the Reserve Command, personnel will be sworn in by taking an oath of office administered by the Sheriff or designee.

2.            The reserve deputy will be subject to all policies, procedures, rules, regulations, and directives of the HCSO except that reserve deputies will not be subject to the rules or provisions of the Sheriff’s Civil Service Commission. The Sheriff or designee has the discretion to discipline a reserve deputy for any violation of HCSO policies, procedures, rules, regulations, and directives. Disciplinary decisions are final. A reserve deputy has no right of appeal from any disciplinary decision.  

J.            Chain of Command

The reserve unit functions as a unit of the Law Enforcement Command and reports to the Assistant Chief of the Law Enforcement Command. The Sheriff designates a chief of the Reserves who will serve as the supervisor for the Reserve Command.  

K.            Transfer to Regular Deputy Status:

A HCSO reserve deputy may apply for transfer to full-time regular deputy status. They must be able to meet the following requirements:

1.            Must have performed no less than 1,040 hours as a law enforcement first responder,

2.            Must pass a background investigation conducted by the HCSO Recruiting and Backgrounds Section and be submitted for review to the Administrative Review Board (ARB),

3.            Must successfully pass the following or have previously passed:

a.            The Physical Abilities Test (PAT) and

b.            The Peace Officer Selection Test (POST).

4.            The newly transferred deputy will serve a 180-day probationary period.


This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:

April 21, 2009    July 20, 2016

June 18, 2009     February 11, 2021

May 21, 2010           June 1, 2024

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