San Angelo, Texas— a lot has changed with the uniforms and physical appearances of two retired San Angelo Police officers.  “I think I have a few extra pounds and he is a little shorter now,” said Tom Bright, “but we are both young at heart.”
Tom Bright and Armando Vasquez are busy these days as members of the San Angelo Police Department’s Volunteers in Police Services program.  They usually work one day a week and primarily focus on disabled parking enforcement or traffic control at the scenes of traffic crashes.  On average, the pair issue at least 15 citations during a shift as well as verbal reminders to move improperly stopped vehicles.  “A lot has changed since we retired from the PD,” said Bright, “Yes, people actually tell us thank you now and it feels really good,” Vasquez added.

Both Bright and Vasquez began their careers shortly after returning home from Vietnam.  “I turned to Law Enforcement because, back then, when you came home from Vietnam and got out [of the military] nobody would give you a job.  I started as a dispatcher making $100.00 a year and then an officer making $675.00 a year”, said Vasquez.  Vasquez, a veteran of both the U.S. Army and Air Force, went on to serve the department for 25 years.  Bright, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, worked a few jobs in the construction industry before joining the department in 1972.  After 5 years, he left to teach cabinetry and construction trade skills for the San Angelo Independent School District.  Bright retired from teaching after 26 years.

 

The decision to come back to the SAPD to volunteer was an easy one for both Bright and Vasquez, “We talked about it and kicked the idea around.  We worked as partners on patrol and knew we could partner up again.  We love it, we still have that feeling of excitement in the car and listening to the police radio,” said Vasquez, “especially if we hear a chase on the radio, but we practice self-control and let the officers handle those calls.  We’re going to do this as long as we are both healthy enough to do it.”

How V.I.P.S. Help

 

By taking on some of the non-critical work, officers can concentrate on tasks requiring sworn law enforcement personnel.  Aside from disabled parking enforcement and traffic control, there are several other volunteer opportunities within the department—an activity and duty for every interest.  All that is needed is the desire and ability to make a difference.  As with any type of police related work or activity, V.I.P.S. has a set of requirements that volunteers must meet before being accepted into the organization. 

 

If you want to make a difference in the community and becoming a member of V.I.P.S. sounds interesting to you, please contact the San Angelo Police Department’s Community Services Division at (325) 657-4331 or visit them at 505 S. Chadbourne.