The Los Angeles City Council today passed a measure changing the title of Specialist Reserve Officers (SROs) to Specialist Volunteers, and eliminating a $15 per deployment stipend.
SROs assist police with computer forensics, graphic design, and other special skills, but do not wear a uniform and have no powers of arrest.
"It's a fantastic idea - it clarifies what they do," said Eric Rose, a Level I Reserve Officer, on the renaming of specialist volunteers. The other classes of LAPD Reserve Officers, Levels I thru III, receive the same training as full time police officers and fill many of the same roles, but on a part time, volunteer basis.
Councilman Mitch Englander (CD12), who also serves as a reserve officer, told KCET that he "truly respects the efforts" of SROs, and that he believed identifying them as volunteers would allow people to better recognize their efforts. "We couldn't be one of the biggest safe cities without them," he said.
Englander called the $15 stipend an insult compared to the time and effort the specialists contribute. "They don't do it for the money," he said, adding, "It costs more to process a $15 check than to write one."
According to the measure that City Council passed today by consent, cutting the stipend would save the city $79,755 annually.
The measure will not affect the stipend for uniformed reserve officers, who receive as much as $50 per deployment to help cover expenses, which includes the cost of purchasing and maintaining their uniforms. The LAPD has has 13 deployment months in a calendar year.