Reserve Peace Officer Program (RPOP)

The California Reserve Peace Officer Program (RPOP) is composed of members of our society who choose to dedicate a portion of their time to community service by working as part-time employees or volunteers with law enforcement agencies. These officers work with full-time regular officers to provide law enforcement services at the city, county, district, and state levels. Approximately 600 law enforcement agencies currently employ nearly 6200 reserve officers.

Reserve peace officers may perform a number of general and specialized law enforcement assignments, including but not limited to:

  • Uniformed patrol
  • Investigations
  • Marine/boat patrol
  • Search and rescue
  • Mounted posse
  • Special events
  • Translators
  • Computer specialists
  • Chaplains

Many law enforcement agencies established reserve programs during the Second World War. Since that time the number of reserve peace officers has increased and their duties and responsibilities have expanded. The legislature has recognized the importance of reserve peace officers and has adopted standards for selection and training, which have enhanced the professionalism of the RPOP.

Reserve peace officers are required by Commission Regulations 1950-1955 to meet the same selection standards (e.g. personal history investigation and medical and psychological screening) as full-time regular officers. Commission Regulation 1007(a) outlines the minimum training requirements for reserve peace officers.

The Legislature has established three levels of reserve peace officer to provide flexibility to law enforcement agencies. The duties of the different levels of reserve officer are described below:

Level III

Level III Penal Code sections 830.6(a)(1) and 832.6(a)(3)

Level III reserve officers may perform specified limited support duties, and other duties that are not likely to result in physical arrests, while supervised in the accessible vicinity by a Level I reserve officer or a full-time regular officer. Additionally, Level III reserve officers may transport prisoners without immediate supervision.

Level II

Level II Penal Code sections 830.6(a)(1) and 832.6(a)(2)

Level II reserve officers may perform general law enforcement assignments while under the immediate supervision of a peace officer who has completed the Regular Basic Course. These officers may also work assignments authorized for Level III reserve officers without immediate supervision.

Level I

Level I Penal Code sections 830.6(a)(1) and 832.6(a)(1)

Level I reserve officers may work alone and perform the same duties as full-time regular officers.

For a quick view of appointment levels, description of authority, assignment, supervision and training, please refer to the Reserve Peace Officer Status Summary Table (pdf).