By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Four area police departments will get a boost in manpower at no cost.
Seven reserve officers graduated Thursday from the North Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Center.
Three will go to work for the Tupelo Police Department, two for the Tupelo Fire Department, one for the Verona Police Department and one for the Alcorn County Sheriff’s Department.
Reserves do everything from directing traffic to patrolling festivals and parades without pay. The reserves go through a 15-week training period.
Tupelo now has 25 reserve officers.
“I can’t express how important the reserve division is for our department and for the citizens of Tupelo,” said Police Chief Tony Carleton. “They just help us in so many ways. These officers give their time and service to the citizens of Tupelo at no cost. That takes a very unique type of person to dedicate their time for nothing in return to our community.”
Len Blanton is one of the graduates who will join the Tupelo reserve unit. The 39-year-old CFO from NESCO, which distributes wholesale electrical equipment, recently moved to Tupelo from Memphis because he wanted to raise his child in a safer place.
“Tupelo is a community where people pitch in and help one another,” said Blanton. “They help in school, church and within the police department, so this is my way of being a part of that help. I’m a firm believer of keeping this a safe place to live. I have a 6-year-old daughter to raise here and I want to keep her safe and being a reserve is a way I can help to do that.”