Wanted: Crime fighters - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Wanted: Crime fighters

Cd'A Police Department seeks reserve officers

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Posted: Sunday, August 19, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 9:47 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

As Ed Richardson and Nick Spann coasted by City Park on Wednesday evening, much about their bike ride seemed perfect for a pleasant summer outing.

Glistening water, folks in swimsuits smiling as they pedaled past.

Perfectly pleasant.

That is, until the pair got down to business.

Parking their bikes under a tree, the towering men in Coeur d'Alene Police uniforms motioned for a teenager to step over from a group of pals.

"You know," Richardson said when the kid asked why. Richardson questioned him about his smoking in public.

As Spann sternly cautioned the others to stay back, Richardson communicated on his radio about the boy. More information was revealed, and soon another officer was on the scene.

Just another summer evening for the police reserves.

They're seen traversing the city on bikes during the summer, and keeping crowds calm at public events.

Armed and given the arrest power of any other officer, reserve officers are invaluable to the Coeur d'Alene Police, said Sgt. Eric Turrell.

And right now, the police are hungry for more program applicants, Turrell said.

"As many as we can get," the sergeant said of applications the force would like to see. "I would say we're hurting for applicants."

Usually paired with a regular officer, reserve officers provide the force with eyes and ears on the street, he said. They're also more accessible on their bikes to folks who need help.

Required to serve 120 hours a year, reserves are called in to help with special events, too. Though reserves are mostly volunteer, the summer bike patrol is paid $11.50 an hour.

"They stay busy, let me tell you," Turrell said.

There's no shame in being an officer on a bike, Richardson and Spann agreed on Wednesday.

"This is the best job in the world right now," said Richardson, a Spokane resident who preferred to work law enforcement outside of his hometown. "You can ride the beach, interact with the public and lose weight."

A domineering pair at 6-feet 7-inches and 7-feet, respectively, Richardson and Spann joined the reserves to get their feet in the door to become full officers, they said.

"Bike patrol especially is a great way to get that interaction, a great way to get me incorporated with this. I'm full time, out there on the streets with everybody, meeting the people, getting to know the town," said Spann, a Cheney resident who was drawn to working in a resort town.

Sometimes pedaling 30 miles a day across town, the pair deals with all kinds of problems, they said.

One day they might subdue a fight, or offer folks directions. They recently coordinated with patrol cars to surround and stop a reckless intoxicated driver, Spann added.

"Get the license plate, vehicle description, and just hope there are a lot of red lights ahead of you," Spann said of dealing with DUIs on bike.

Crucial for reserve officers, Richardson cautioned, is having thick skin.

With seven years experience as a reserve officer in Coeur d'Alene and Spirit Lake, the African American has absorbed some harsh words about his skin color, he said.

"In Spirit Lake, 800 people in the town, everybody knows your name, the first they thing say is 'We have a new colored cop.' I haven't heard that word in a long time," he said with a chuckle. "But after they got to know me, it was the best thing ever. I had so much fun up there."

Richardson constantly tries to recruit others to join the reserves, he added.

"You listen to the young guys trying to get into this field, and when they hear the word reserves and volunteers," they're not so excited, Richardson acknowledged. "But hey, you've got to start somewhere. You can't just come in. This is a good department and good program to get started."

Citizens must be 21 years old to be a reserve officer, and must pass a background check.

Reserves are required to attend a Level One Reserve Academy, which runs from January through March.

The application deadline is Aug. 31. Applicants are available at the front desk of the police department at 3818 Schreiber Way.

For questions, call Turrell at: 769-2320.

Just remember, it's an opportunity to do some good, Spann said.

"At the end of the day, I like to think we made a difference in somebody's life," he said.

How to apply

• Applications for the Coeur d'Alene Police reserve force are available at the police department at 3818 Schreiber Way. The deadline for applications is Aug. 31. For more information, call Sgt. Eric Turrell at: 769-2320.

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  • Joseph Jr posted at 8:28 am on Fri, Aug 24, 2012.

    Joseph Jr Posts: 512

    I agree with Mark. They should have asked the kid where he was getting his cigarettes. It's good to see officer's like this fellow, out to improve relations with the community.

    It's also a shame that he's got to be a pounding board for a few local hillbilly's, who believe skin color defines a person.

  • Mark on the Park posted at 1:19 pm on Mon, Aug 20, 2012.

    Mark on the Park Posts: 471

    They should have cut the smokin' kid a deal in exchange for being a confidential informant and snagging first his local supplier, then exposing and arresting higher-ups in the supply chain all the way to the top, the kingpin of the cartel.

    Oh wait, we already know, it's RJ Reynolds and Philip Morris.

    Book 'em Danno!

  • Mark on the Park posted at 1:09 pm on Mon, Aug 20, 2012.

    Mark on the Park Posts: 471

    So capnbutch, you helped the Missoula police achieve their goal of lowering crime while at the same time making their job easier and they took umbrage at it?

    That doesn't sound logical, does it?

  • capnbutch posted at 11:13 am on Sun, Aug 19, 2012.

    capnbutch Posts: 729

    When living in Montana I started Missoula Crime Fighters because local police were too tied up to assist residents in dealing with a significant crime wave.

    Missoula Crime Fighters got a lot of newspaper space and many kudos and the area crime rate dropped. Neighbors became friends. Would-be criminals found that they had new friends willing to help them through their troubles. People stopped feeling bad. Nobody was beat up. Nobody went to jail.

    Then local police lied about me and badmouthed Missoula Crime Fighters. I could not fight "City Hall" so I disbanded the team and things are back the way they started.

  • CMYTAT2 posted at 9:19 am on Sun, Aug 19, 2012.

    CMYTAT2 Posts: 5

    When I first saw these two I was blown away at their height or their tiny bicycles...Not quite sure which it was...Now I know...teeheehee...

  • voxpop posted at 6:39 am on Sun, Aug 19, 2012.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    Pity the poor bicycles ...

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