Volunteer Profile: Linda Graves, Arlington Police Department
By Office of Communication
Posted on December 20, 2012, December 20, 2012

Even in retirement, Linda Graves is not one to sit and watch the world go by. So it's not surprising that she raised her hand for a volunteer gig that's more like a full-time job.

Graves, an Arlington native, became the volunteer administrator for the Arlington Police Department's database of volunteers last May. It's an ideal placement for the retired project manager, since many of her responsibilities involve working with police department staff to interview potential volunteers and identifying department volunteer needs-plus overseeing a plethora of general administrative tasks.

Perhaps appropriately, the job frequently requires a bit of detective work for Graves, who must patiently sleuth out qualified civilians to slot into police department programs that need volunteers with special skills or interests.

"Recently, I found a volunteer in the database who was a guru in airport security,' she said. "I talked to the sergeant in the fugitive unit, and sure enough, he had some things for that volunteer to do.'

Though her volunteer role is time-intensive, it's a job that suits the energetic grandmother of five perfectly. "Although I sometimes have trouble understanding the word "no',' she laughed.

"I've managed projects of 25 and 30 people before,' she went on. "So if you give me a deadline, I'll meet it, come heck or high water. I'm there on this job so much that some people think I'm an employee.'

Graves added that her experiences as a police department volunteer have been eye-opening, particularly since she rode along with an officer for an entire shift.

"I am amazed at the volume of work they do,' she said. "There are a lot of good people in the department, and what they do is awesome. I'm very comfortable with the police who are protecting us at this time.'

The police department's website lists more than 40 programs or units that have volunteer opportunities, including economic crimes, victim assistance, crime scene investigation, school-based programs, traffic unit assistance, the Arlington Citizens Police Academy and Citizens on Patrol.

Volunteers with solid office skills are much in demand, as many of the opportunities require a considerable amount of filing, writing, copying, computer processing or phone duties.

Other opportunities require an especially high degree of people skills, compassion and the ability to successfully interact with people affected by crime, such as work with victim assistance or the Arlington Clergy and Police Partnership.

Volunteers must also display an understanding of appropriate boundaries of volunteer service and a high degree of discretion.

"Police department volunteers are committed citizens who give unselfishly of their time and talent to assist the department,' said Graves. "But it's important that we work professionally and within the department's guidelines, so that we don't fail to live up to the trust they have placed in us.'

Learn more about City of Arlington volunteer opportunities.

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