Emergency services volunteers needed

When people disappear or disaster strikes in the Mid-South, a highly trained group of volunteers swing into action. These Crime Trackers work above ground and underwater.

One guy in the diving suit describes himself as a computer geek for FedEx. The other works as an investment banker. But when they put on diving suits, they're key searchers, rescuers and investigators. Buddy Crihfield, diver and banker said, "It's an opportunity to give back to the community." Insp. John Yancy, Shelby Co. Sheriff's Dept said, "If tomorrow a school bus went in the water with kids in it, who's going to go after 'em? Who's going to go? These people."

They're citizen-volunteers: members of the Shelby County Sheriff's Emergency Services commanded by Inspector John Yancey. An expert diver himself, Yancey teaches volunteers underwater rescue and how to investigate an underwater crime scene. "To do this and keep proficient at this, you need to do this once a month with all the members of the dive team."

Patty Wood is a dog handler. "I have a talent, a God given talent of being able to read dogs. To be able to give back that talent to the community, it's just a big thrill." Patty and her 3 year old lab, Angel, work the ground and water. They found victims of the Jackson, Tennessee tornadoes earlier this year and located children lost in Shelby Forest among many others. "I thought if I could find missing people, that would be great. It's been very rewarding."

The Sheriff's Department says it now has eighty citizens volunteering in emergency services; it would like to have 120 more. Here's the number to call to explore volunteering as a reserve deputy or in the emergency services department. It's 867-1440.