The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.

The People News
Special Report






Our Volunteers in Blue

by Alexandra Edwards

It is understandable why this state is known as the Volunteer state, especially here in Cleveland, Tennessee.

It seems that as soon as the age of retirement is reached, instead of laying back and watching the grass grow, many retired citizens choose to serve their community by volunteering their free time in some way or another.

The donation of time to a community is as much a generous gesture as is donating money or land and all volunteers deserve to be recognized and commended for the giving of such a a generous gift.

Alexandra Edwards

Cleveland PSU members from left to right: B.J.Armstrong, Alvin Firestone, James (Buddy) Linville, Jerry Brown, L.V. Bible, Roy Hicks, W.W. Johnson, Ray Myers, Jim Flanary, Lee Hammond, Ken Ross, Roxann Carey, Roy Farmer, Jerry Orman, Larry Davis, Bill Williams. Not pictured: Al Roach, Ron Pinkard and Chaplain David Cross.

Volunteers serve the community in many different ways, in our hospitals, nursing homes, schools, animal control, government committees, fire departments and law enforcement. Some have already been mentioned in previous articles on this page, but this month we will take a look at the volunteers of the Cleveland Police Department.

PSU Records Property Manager/Supervisor : Travis Weber

Support Services Division Administrator: Lieutenant Steve Weber

The Public Service Unit (PSU) is a group of volunteers that assist the Support Services Division of the Cleveland Police Department with non-law enforcement duties. You may have seen them unlocking car doors for citizens that have accidentally left their key in the ignition, assisting stranded motorists, directing traffic at parades and at accident scenes or escorting a funeral. They also help pick up and deliver departmental supplies, property, personnel and paperwork for the police department, and visit some of our local elderly folk. All services are performed at the direction of the patrol supervisors of the Support Services Division operated under the direction of  Cleveland Police Chief Wes Snyder, Captain Tommy McLain and Lieutenant Steve Weber. Travis Weber was recently made the immediate supervisor and  Records Property Manager of the PSU and is responsible for organizing the duties and schedules of the unit, along with long time members Jim Flanery coordinator and Al Roach assistant coordinator.

Most of the 18 volunteer members of the PSU, which include 16 men and two women are retired citizens. Many of whom had already given their service to the community by way of  law enforcement, the military, the education system or in the local workforce.

The Cleveland  Public Service Unit was originated in 1985 under the leadership of Chief Arnold Botts and training sergeant Wes

Snyder.  Today, as Cleveland's current Police Chief, Wes Snyder still has great affection for the unit and has seen many of it's members serve the community over the past twenty years, with some of the original members still active today.  Alvin Firestone and Roy Hicks are two of the original members although most of the other PSU officers have been with the unit for several years.

A new recruit PSU volunteer are required to undergo and pass a background investigation and fingerprint check conducted by the Cleveland Police Department. They  must be willing to work a minimum of four hours per week

under the command and direction of the Cleveland Police Department and sign a contract agreement. They are required to attend all training sessions and meetings,  pass a training phase and a driving test provided by the

The two female
PSU members:

B.J. Armstrong and
Roxann Carey

Public Service Unit coordinator. A PSU officer must understand that although they represent the Cleveland Police Department and carry department ID, they do not possess the powers, duties, or responsibilities of sworn police officers, nor can they carry firearms or serve warrants. Although required to work a minimum of four

hours per week, some members donate much more time to the unit. The PSU officer must sign in and out for duty at the Police Station and works closely with the Cleveland Police Department and the 911 dispatchers.

On-the-job training is given to a new recruit for several weeks prior to active service. Part of the training can involve accompanying an established PSU officer in one of the PSU marked patrol cars, learning the procedures for their duties while at the same time learning the geography of the City of Cleveland. Although the patrol is confined to city limits, a PSU officer may assist a citizen outside the city limits but only after radioing for permission to do so from the police department. After the the required training the PSU coordinator will sign a release sheet, which will be followed  by an interview with Chief Wes Snyder and Captain Tommy McLain before they can ride solo. Each PSU officer is issued a winter and summer uniform which consists of a light blue shirt and navy pants, black shoes and belt, coat, orange raincoat to be worn during inclement weather, and head gear. The uniform must be worn by PSU members with respect and pride. A set of tools are also issued for aiding with motorist lockout and battery stall duties.

Every month the PSU meet at Shoney's for a breakfast. The unit's Chaplain, David Cross, leads the meeting with invocation, new members are introduced and any new by-laws or procedures are discussed.

After my meeting with these men and women police volunteers, it was evident that the job is taken very seriously as an integral and important part of the Police Department.  The volunteers enjoy meeting and talking with city residents and helping the community and the Police department in the best way they can. Long term PSU Officer, Alvin Firestone said, "It's been interesting, no two days are alike." He went on to tell the story where he was called out to unlock the same lady's door four times in the same day. He added, "The funniest thing was, she had  a couple of spare keys but they were all in her pocket book inside the locked car." Another time while patrolling the city he noticed a man he knew sweeping trash on a hot day and jokingly smiled and shouted to him "hey do you have a permit to do that." His wife then came out to see what the fuss was and the man told her that he needed a permit to sweep the trash, so that he could get out of doing it. PSU Coordinator Jim Flanery said that after retiring from the military he felt the need to continue to serve by helping the community. He is responsible for training new recruits and organizing schedules. He said, "Funeral escorts average at least one a day," and recalled once escorting a funeral of the owner of  a wrecker service where it was requested that the casket be carried on the back of the wrecker.

The Cleveland PSU "volunteers in blue"  not only help take the work load off our local police department, allowing the police to concentrate on catching criminals and performing law enforcement duties but are also a great asset to the people of the community by assisting us with those every day tasks that can cause so much frustration.
Thanks guys.

For more information on becoming a volunteer with the Cleveland Police Public Service Unit call Travis Weber 559-3390