Personally, Auxiliary is a good place to start. Just ask our former auxiliary chief who just got appointed to full time on the regular department.
Yes, there is some ribbing that comes along with being an auxiliary officer. Fortunately MOST of the regulars appreciate what we do. In fact I haven't had any real problems when we enteract with the regs.
We do alot of boring P.I.T.A details, but we have fun also.
I know being an Auxiliary officer has open alot of doors for me.
Plus in the one year on the department I've gone through the Reserve academy, earned several certifications, and gained insight to the world of policing that has been helpfull in testing process with other PDs.
The down side is it requires out-of-pocket expense. You gotta buy your own gear. But there is always a regular officer out there trying to unload their department issued gear at a fraction of the cost.