Volunteers Help Patrol Downtown Knoxville

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Volunteers Help Patrol Downtown Knoxville

Posted: 08/30/2007
The Knoxville Police Department is launching the Volunteer Courtesy Officer (VCO) program.

 Eleven volunteers have spent 40 hours training in everything from CPR and defensive driving, to learning about other police-related issues. Primarily assigned to downtown Knoxville, the mission of the VCOs is to aid and offer assistance to police officers on patrol, by providing an increased presence at special events, helping people with directions, parking information and answering all kinds of questions about downtown.

They come from all walks of life and will work in pairs and carry radios so that if they see anything suspicious or someone in need of help, they can radio a uniformed officer. While they will not have an enforcement role, VCO's will be provided with communication equipment (radio or phone) that will allow for instantaneous contact with the Emergency 911 Center.

"We brought the idea of the program to the Knoxville Police about a year ago and they have made tremendous progress in getting the program off the ground and running," said Michele Hummel, director of the CBID. "I'm excited to see the impact it has on our downtown."

The volunteers have already begun working special events both downtown and in other locations throughout the city. Additionally, they patrol areas around the parking garages and side streets to help keep everyone safe.

"The volunteer courtesy officers serve as Ambassadors for the Knoxville Police Department and the City, providing information to citizens and visitors and assisting in other non-law enforcement functions as required," said Lt. Robert Hubbs of the Knoxville Police Department.

Be on the lookout for Volunteer Courtesy Offices next time you're downtown. They'll be wearing a yellow collared golf shirt with the Knoxville Police insignia and the individual's first initial and last name.

The Volunteer Courtesy Officer (VCO) Program is part of the Volunteers in Police Service Program initiated to foster a culture of service, citizenship, and responsibility to help communities prevent, prepare, and respond to crime, natural disasters, and emergencies.