This month’s spotlight focus is on part-time law enforcement officers and auxiliary personnel. We hope this issue aids departments in the proper deployment and management of their personnel. There are approximately 7600+ full-time police officers, 530+ part-time law enforcement officers and 240+ full-time law enforcement officers that also work as part-time law enforcement officers in a separate jurisdiction in the State of Kansas. For many Kansas law enforcement agencies, part-time officers and auxiliary personnel fill a needed void when staffing is low or extra personnel are needed at large or unique events.
As defined in K.S.A. chapter 74, article 56, “Means employment on a regular schedule or employment which requires a minimum number of hours each payroll period, but in any case, requiring less than 1,000 hours of law enforcement related work per year.”
Part-time officers are required to meet the same basic qualifications for certification as full-time officers per K.S.A. 74-5605. Therefore, the same pre-employment disqualifications apply; the applicant can have no domestic violence convictions, no felony convictions, and per K.A.R. 106-2-2 the applicant shall not have had a conviction for misdemeanor theft within 12 months before the date of application for certification. Just as a full-time officer, a part-time officer needs to have completed an assessment including psychological testing to determine that the applicant does not have a mental or personality disorder that would adversely affect the ability to perform the essential functions of a law enforcement officer with reasonable skill, safety, and judgement.
Part-time officers are required to complete basic training as well as annual training requirements. Once hired, part-time officers that are not otherwise certified are issued a provisional license and will be required to attend the next available basic training date at KLETC. The part-time basic training class is two weeks / 80 hours in length and scheduled twice a year.
After basic training completion, part-time officers are not required to get 40 hours of annual continuing education as required for full-time officers. However, they must still meet the annual firearms qualification requirement per K.S.A. 74-5607(e) and part-time officers must participate in annual racial or other biased-based policing training per K.S.A. 22-4610(2)(A). This training should be reported to the POST’s central registry. Although these two areas are the only required annual training for part-time officers, agencies should not construe this spotlight as a suggestion that part-time officers would not benefit from additional annual training. It is the absolute minimum amount of annual training required for part-time officers.
We often get inquires on what it means to be “employment on a regular schedule or employment which requires a minimum number of hours each payroll period” as the statute reads. The Commission has chosen not to further define what it means and leaves it up to individual agencies. Some agencies interpret it as every home football game, some may interpret it as a weekend long annual community event and others might interpret it as working a shift once a month. In any event, it is up to the agency to decide what “employment on a regular schedule” looks like.
Auxiliary Personnel (Reserve Officers)
As defined in K.S.A. chapter 74, article 56, “Means members of organized nonsalaried groups who operate as an adjunct to a police or sheriff’s department, including reserve officers, posses and search and rescue groups.”
The most common regularly utilized auxiliary personnel are reserve officers. Auxiliary personnel do not fall under the authority of the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Act and/or KSCPOST. There is no basic training or annual training for auxiliary personnel. However, pursuant to K.S.A. 74-5617(d), no agency may appoint any auxiliary personnel who does not meet the requirements of 74-5605.
As the definition states, auxiliary personnel are meant to aid or supplement agencies’ efforts and cannot be paid. They are strictly volunteers. If reserve officers are getting paid for law enforcement duties, then they should be categorized as a part-time officer and must have attended a part-time basic training course.
Although no training of auxiliary personnel is required or reported to the POST, agencies should strongly consider the liability and potential impact of reserve police officers operating in their communities without proper training.
As we all strive to become more professional, efficient, and effective, we hope you found this spotlight topic to be informative and beneficial. A new topic will be chosen each month and emailed to those that have signed up to receive updates. If you have a topic that you would like KSCPOST to examine in future spotlights, please contact us.