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Local police measuring impact of Reserve call

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As military reservists are called up from around the nation, police departments along the Wasatch Front are busy trying to figure out how they might be affected.

Most departments say they'll be able to cover for any reservists called into active duty. But those departments also say they'll feel a real pinch if the reservists are still away when February and the Olympics roll around.

Many police departments in Salt Lake County were busy Wednesday afternoon counting how many of their officers were reservists.

Salt Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Shane Hudson said there are at least 47 personnel in the sheriff's office who belong to the reserves.

If all of those people were called up, Hudson said the sheriff's office would still be able to comfortably function.

But if the reservists are still overseas come February, Hudson said the sheriff's office would definitely feel the pinch. He estimated up to 40 percent of the department is earmarked for Olympic security.

The Department of Public Safety has about 50 employees out of an estimated 1,300 who are reservists, said Utah Highway Patrol spokesman Doug McCleve. McCleve said if all of them were called into active duty, the department would simply have to rearrange a few shifts.

"When it comes to this kind of stuff there's not really an option. You just have to adjust," McCleve said.

But as for the Olympics, McCleve said 65 to 70 percent of his department has been dedicated to Olympic security. The department definitely would be impacted if the reservists were still away in February, he said.

"We will carry on. We won't allow public safety to be compromised in any way," McCleve said.

West Valley City was taking a head count Wednesday of all city employees who are military reservists. As of Wednesday afternoon the city said it knew of five reservists, three of whom are police officers.

Sandy Police Lt. Kevin Thacker said up to five officers in his department are reservists. Like the other departments, Thacker said Sandy will only feel a pinch if the reservists are gone when the Olympics start. Forty percent of Sandy's police department is earmarked for Olympic security, he said.

The Weber County Sheriff's Office has 10 reservists in a department of about 90 people, Weber County Sheriff's Lt. Klint Anderson said.

Adult Probation and Parole said it's Region 3 office, which covers Salt Lake County, had 10 agents who were also reserves. Each agent has a caseload of up to 100 parolees to watch, said AP&P spokesman Bradly Bassi.

While AP&P would be impacted if those reserves are called up, Bassi said all of the cases would be reassigned throughout the department.

Salt Lake police said Wednesday afternoon they were still counting and did not know how many officers were in the reserves.


E-mail: preavy@desnews.com