AUSTIN, Texas - Inside the Austin Police Headquarters building, 14 retired Austin Police officers faced Interim Austin Police Chief Robin Henderson to be sworn in for the second time in their policing career. This time, it was to be part of APD’s newly instated Reserve Officers’ Unit.
"Congratulations. Very first reserve officer class," said Interim APD Chief Henderson.
The Reserve Officers’ Unit is made up of retired Austin Police officers who will be called in to work special events. Their first assignment will be working barricade and traffic control at ACL.
"When we look at staffing overall with the entire department, it will not have any impact on the staffing with the department. What it will do is it will keep us from using on duty resources for special events because the reserves will be able to take those spots where we'd normally have to pull on duty resources to work special events. Now, those resources can go back out and work the calls for the city," said Kenneth Murphy with APD.
It is a unit the City of Austin has been working to create with the department since May.
"I've seen this start from the beginning and get to where it is today. I'm very happy to know that we will have more support on the ground during the special events, especially with ACL and SXSW coming up," said Mackenzie Kelly, Austin City Council member.
One of the reserve officers sworn in is Surei Scanlon.
"I just take so much pride in it and being a police officer and representing the city in this uniform," she said.
She was with APD for a little over 23 years before retiring in 2022. She, like all the other reserve officers, had to go through the entire recruiting process all over again to meet core standards to serve in the department. It was a 64-hour training process over a two-week period.
She says it feels good to be back.
"I don't think that it really changes when you retire. We all became police officers to serve. Now, servitude just doesn't leave so it just feels like comfort. It feels like home in a sense," said Scanlon.
However, that sense of home is a little bit more serious for her because she will be serving in the same department as her son for the first time ever.
"My son is a police officer here and I thought it'd be a good chance for us to see each other in uniform," she said.
The reserve officers will now be ready to help their department get back on its feet during special events.