Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release:
May 21, 2015
Reserve law enforcement to have ongoing
continuing education requirements under new bill passed in Senate
Oklahoma’s reserve law enforcement officers
would be required to complete additional CLEET certified training
each year under a new bill passed in the Senate on Thursday morning,
according to the bill’s author, Sen. Ralph
The measure would apply to Oklahoma’s more than 3,500 reserve
officers who work part time and are not paid for their service.
The bill would mandate an increase in basic reserve academy hours
to a minimum of 300 hours, up from the current requirement of 240.
It would also require reserve officers to complete an additional
15 hours of continuous education training annually, including two
hours of mental health education.
“This is an important and long overdue step to ensure our
reserve law enforcement officers are not only properly trained,
but this will enable them to remain trained as the years pass and
needs change in law enforcement,” said Shortey, R-Oklahoma
City. “If we are willing to give our reserve officers the
authority to serve and protect, and arm them appropriately to do
so, we need to make sure they receive ongoing, timely training on
a regular basis.”
Although the law now stipulates all law enforcement officers complete
a minimum of 240 hours of CLEET training, there is no requirement
for ongoing continuing education annually for reserve officers.
“We currently have reserve officers working in our communities
who have not had any continuing education past their initial 240
hours, which they could have completed years ago with no additional
training since then,” said Shortey. “That situation
could prove unsafe or risky, as it puts the reserve officer and
the community they serve at higher risk in dangerous situations.
Reserve officers are undoubtedly valuable resources within law enforcement
organizations, but we need to take the additional steps to make
sure they’re properly trained and educated on the changing
needs of law enforcement each year before we arm them and send them
out to protect our communities.”
The continuing education requirements would be tracked by CLEET
and Shortey said on Thursday the Oklahoma Sheriffs Association has
endorsed the bill as a way to address the current deficiency in
training for reserve officers.
During debate on the Senate floor, the measure gained support from
Matthews, who represents the district in Tulsa where the April
2 shooting death of Eric Harris by Tulsa County volunteer reserve
deputy Robert Bates took place. The reserve deputy killed Harris
when he mistook his gun for his taser.
“I want to thank Senator Shortey and my colleagues in the
Senate for taking swift action on this important public safety issue.
Reserve peace officers play a crucial role in helping our law enforcement
agencies fulfill their duty to protect and serve the public,”
said Matthews, D-Tulsa. “However, the recent tragic incident
in Tulsa County brought to our attention that our reserve officers
aren’t currently receiving adequate training, which can lead
to deadly consequences. We must make sure that reserve officers
are highly qualified and trained so that the citizens of Oklahoma
can be confident that they are providing the best services possible.”
SB 526 passed the Senate by a vote of 26-21 and is now headed to
the House for consideration.
For more information, contact:
Sen. Shortey: (405) 521-5557
Sen. Matthews: (405) 521-5598