The Morehouse Parish Sheriff’s Office reserve deputies have been busy selling raffle tickets since August to raise money for additional equipment to help their department.
The winner, Bastrop resident Shane Swayze, won the $500 gift card in the drawing that was held Thursday.
“Five hundred and twenty-six tickets were sold at $5 apiece,” said deputy J.D. Smith, who is also the treasurer for the reserves. “We raised $2,630.”
Smith said the purpose for the raffle was to raise money for new hand-held 700 band radios for the reserve deputies.
With currently 20 reserve deputies, Sheriff Mike Tubbs said they, “save the department thousands of dollars annually.”
“They provide security, help with parking assistance and help out deputies with accidents,” he said. “They direct traffic at town events, like Witch Way to Main Street that just took place at the Square. They also help out with security and direct traffic at football games.”
Major Keith Robertson, patrol division commander, is the liaison between the department and the reserves. He began at the MPSO 29 years ago as a reserve deputy himself.
“I worked as a reserve deputy for eight years before going on full-time as a deputy,” he said.
Robertson said the reserve deputies buy their own equipment while volunteering at the sheriff’s office.
“They buy their own guns, bullet proof vests and pay for the maintenance of their own vehicles,” he said.
Chairman of the reserves Tommy Freeland said although this is the first year they’ve held a raffle, they have some type of fundraiser every year to pay for their equipment.
“We’ve sold hamburger plates and had poker runs,” he said. “That’s helped us to buy bullet proof vests and other equipment.”
Tubbs said reserve deputies go through the same training as regular deputies and many go on to become full-time employees.
“Many of the people here on staff began as reserves,” he said. “We currently have two dispatchers and people in the correctional division who are reserves.”
Tubbs said “not a day goes by” that the reserve deputies don’t help out in the community.
“These people volunteer their time to help in every way they can,” he said. “They are a valuable asset to this department and the people of Morehouse Parish.”
When Freeland was asked what was his reason for being a non-paid reserve deputy, his response was, “because it allows us to help the people in our community.That’s enough.”