Volunteers Save City $230K Last Year
By CASEY MURPHY
Fifty-eight Tylerites volunteered more than 9,000 hours of service to the Tyler Police Department last year, saving the city more than $230,000, Police Chief Gary Swindle announced Wednesday during the City Council meeting.
Swindle said volunteers are one way the police department does more with less. He said volunteers are a valuable source for the department and the city is expanding volunteer opportunities citywide.
For fiscal year 2008-09, the 58 volunteers served 9,182 hours in the "Volunteers in Policing Program." The council was presented a representative check of $233,169 -- the amount Swindle said the city would have had to spend if it weren't for the service of the volunteers.
The total contribution was decided by combining the time given by volunteers and the fines they collected, according to an annual volunteer services report.
Volunteers for the police department work in data management, alarms, major crimes, crime scene unit, vehicle services, chaplains, north substation, volunteer services office, disabled parking enforcement, traffic safety observers, citizens on park patrol and special events/projects.
"We sincerely appreciate all the things that they do," Swindle said.
Volunteers present at the meeting were applauded.
"Our volunteers are a critical part of our community," Mayor Barbara Bass said. "They are who we are as a city." She thanked the volunteers for what they do.
Swindle said they are working on getting volunteers for the Tyler Public Library and expanding volunteer opportunities in other areas.VOLUNTEER TYLER
Building on the success of the "Volunteers in Policing Program," the city is launching a new organization-wide program -- "Volunteer Tyler" -- to create opportunities for citizens to volunteer for city government.
"Volunteer Tyler" was proposed earlier this year by one of the city's leadership development teams through the Tyler Apprenticeship Program. Police Volunteer Services Coordinator Gary Lynch will lead the new program.
The volunteer program is not intended to replace paid staff but will allow departments to draw on the talent, skills and abilities of community members, city officials said in a prepared statement after the council meeting.
For volunteer opportunities, call Lynch at 903-531-1071, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or pick up an application at the library or police department.