With budgets tight, law enforcement agencies are coming up with creative ways to make sure their citizens stay safe. The Cocke County Sheriff's Office is taking officers out of retirement to patrol the streets.
After 21 years in law enforcement, Fred Bond hadn't put on a badge in nine years, until the sheriff called him to report for duty. The call came as a surprise to the 80-year-old, but he didn't turn down the offer.
Sheriff Armando Fontes is using Bond as the first officer in his new COPS program. That stands for Crime Observation Protection Service.
"These individuals have many years of experience, they've been on the beat, they've done the jobs and they chose to retire in our area," explained Sheriff Fontes.
Bond says his job is to patrol the streets. He says he cruises through neighborhoods to look for anything out of the ordinary.
Sheriff Fontes says he hopes the added patrols will help prevent crime and work as the community's connection to the sheriff's office.
"That's the idea of our program, so the bad guys will see our cars and hopefully go the other way," explained Bond.
All of Bond's work is strictly voluntary, and he doesn't have the same powers as a deputy, but Sheriff Fontes says they've been forced to find ways to fight crime without asking for more money from the taxpayers.
"Everybody wants to have more police presence in their communities, but no one wants to foot the bill," said the sheriff.
Bond says he's happy to put the uniform back on and help.
Sheriff Fontes says he is looking for three other retired officers to use in the field. Starting this fall, they will add school walk-throughs to their list of duties.
The retired officers cannot arrest citizens or pull them over for traffic stops.