Budget cuts in the fall of 2006 caused the Dickson Police Department to lay off half its force. Now the police chief has recruited volunteers to relieve some of the burden.
Department downsizing left two to do the work of five, so Chief William Thomas convinced the city council to start a reserve officer program. It hits the ground running Monday night.
Since the layoffs the chief says he would have to stay by his phone on the weekends in case of emergency. He has recruited two volunteers who will serve as reserve officers who start training tonight.
After close to 180 hours of class, these officers will be able to do everything a full time officer does including make arrests and write tickets. The difference is they work for free.
Every department in Carter County relies on reserve officers to keep their department running smoothly. Many officers have full time jobs but are willing to take time away from their families and busy schedules to keep their towns safe.
It's a sacrifice that Dickson Police Chief William Thomas gratefully acknowledges.
"It's exciting to know people are willing to put that much effort training involved they're going to do that above and beyond what their normal jobs are."
Thomas also added that there is a possibility more reserve officers could be hired part-time in the future.