Undersheriff Arturo Baeza told us that the Official Reserve Division had ceased to exist at the end of 2011. He cited lack of local volunteers that eventually killed the once popular program.
Baeza said, that the department hired one full time employee and three part time employees to do similar duties as the former Reserve Deputies did. Also, the group’s name was changed from Reserves to Court Security Officers.
Sheriff’s Sergeant Luis Malina has been placed over the group and identified the employees as Garret Gifford, Paul Garcia and Angel Pena. Malina said they recently posted the full time position and will hire that person within the next few weeks.
The 4 officers are not law enforcement certified but receive in house training, and weapons qualifications. As part time county employees they can only put in 19.5 hours a week.
Malina said, the Sheriff’s Department has two crossing guards working with the school district. Ron Coon is stationed in Deming, and Robert Odam works in Columbus and also mans the Department’s Columbus Substation.