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Slain Officer Puts Role Of Reserve Police In Spotlight

Oregon City Police Department
Oregon City Reserve Officer Robert Libke.

The death of an Oregon police officer this week spotlights a little known element of Northwest law enforcement: volunteer reserve officers who put their lives on the line for little or no pay.

Oregon City police officer Robert Libke was responding to reports of an armed man and a house on fire in suburban Oregon City on Sunday. They say an 88-year-old man shot Libke before taking his own life.

The 41-year-old was a reserve officer. Like most of the 1,300 or so volunteer police in Oregon, Libke received training and carried a weapon, and served on his own time. Reserve officers typically hold other jobs and help out on an as-needed basis.

Libke will be awarded the Medal of Ultimate Sacrifice.

Libke's family will receive the full survivor benefits awarded to regular officers killed in the line of duty. He is the first reserve officer to receive the Medal of Ultimate Sacrifice since it was established last year.

According to the Officer Down memorial webpage, Libke is at least the eighth Oregon reserve officer to die in the line of duty, and the first as a result of gunfire.