By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The Tupelo Police Department’s reserve division is full of Tupelo residents who volunteer their spare time to back up full-time officers and work extra patrols in the city.
This year, Mike McClain was ranked at the top of that group of 28 volunteers, earning him the title Reserve Officer of the Year.
“There is a pool of names we put together based on commitment they show – especially if we need them last minute,” said Sgt. Katarsha White. “He is usually the one who is pretty much there, especially for big events.”
McClain went to North Mississippi Law Enforcement Academy’s part-time officer academy in 2008 to become a state certified part-time officer.
“I’ve been with FedEx for 26 years – since I was 19 – but I’ve always been curious about law enforcement and what it would have been like if I had gone that way,” McClain said. “I had the opportunity to go through the academy at night and do what I do for a living while serving the community in my spare time.”
To become a reserve officer, McClain had to attend a 16-week academy, similar to the one full-time officers attend but it meets mostly at night and on weekends and doesn’t require officers to stay overnight.
He has lived in Tupelo since 1997 and said the reason he enjoys being a reserve officer is similar to the reason he enjoys delivering for FedEx.
“I get to get out and meet people in the community,” he said. “It’s also fun to get out there and back up the full-time guys on calls. You get to see things you usually wouldn’t see every day and get to help folks. People say, ‘Man, I don’t know why you do that, it isn’t paid,’ but it’s something I enjoy doing.”