A Post-War Beginning

The origins of the Minneapolis Police Reserve date back to the years following World War II, when air raid wardens wearing white helmets were a familiar sight on city streets.  Formally chartered by the City of Minneapolis in 1952, the Police Reserve operated under the auspices of Civil Defense for nearly four decades.  The Police Reserve's principal duties were emergency preparedness and staffing large community events.  Reservists trained for incidents of civil unrest, natural disaster and, if necessary, city-wide evacuation.  Large events such as the annual Aquatennial celebration and the Twin Cities Marathon served as training exercises in managing large crowds and automobile and pedestrian traffic.

Over the years, the Police Reserve took on a public relations role in addition to its public safety duties, working alongside and on behalf of the Police Department at smaller neighborhood and church-sponsored events.  At the same time, reserve officers took on a greater support role in the Department, assisting sworn officers in non-enforcement duties.  The gray/black uniform of reservists was changed to resemble the blue uniform worn by regular police officers.  By the 1980s, reserve officers could be found staffing precinct desks and on backup details in marked squad cars during midwatch shifts and performing a variety of auxiliary duties.

In 1989, following the replacement of Civil Defense with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Police Reserve became a fully integrated unit of the Police Department.  The duties of reserve officers have continued to change to meet the needs of the Police Department in this new era of community oriented policing and heightened national security.  Reserve officers wear the Department's trademark powder/navy blue uniform and drive the same recognizable squad cars as regular police officers.

2012 marked the sixtieth anniversary of the Minneapolis Police Reserve.