TVA Police Inspector | Chattanooga, Tenn.
Todd Large is always on the lookout. That’s because the watchfulness of a TVA Police inspector begins long before there’s any sign of trouble. TVA’s Federal police officers don’t focus just on law enforcement—they are responsible for physical security too, right down to the card readers that employees swipe every day.
“Each inspector is assigned certain facilities they’re responsible for on a day-to-day basis,” says Large. “That inspector is responsible for physical security and law enforcement at those sites.”
"I spend as much time with my family as I can. I serve and protect them also."
Sound simple? It’s anything but. “We have a lot of different duties; we do vulnerability assessments, we oversee contract security officers,” Large explains. “We keep track of all security measures. We have card readers, cameras, door locks, contacts—we have to identify all of them, put them in order, and we have to function test them, ensure they are doing what they’re supposed to do. They provide layers of security, which are intended to protect employees and property.”
Large and his fellow officers sometimes provide extra services as needed. For example, during the high-traffic summer vacation season, Natural Resources will request patrols to help keep recreational lands safe. Officers sometimes make arrests there for drug possession, alcohol possession, underage drinking and, admits Large with a chuckle, occasional swimmers who assume swimsuits are optional.
Stopping Trouble Before It Starts
Large’s overall mission is to protect the people and the property of TVA, from securing doors to making arrests. But although TVA Police are trained and authorized to arrest lawbreakers, they’d rather stop trouble before it starts.
“We take constant training for possible situations like active shooter,” says Large. “We are prepared. But we never want to have to use it. That’s where the physical security is so important—those layers that can potentially stop it from ever getting to that point. If I can stop that shooter before he ever gets inside a building, that’s what I want to do.”
Moreover, Large and his team count on help from TVA employees and visitors. “This is why it’s so important to make sure employees are alert and aware,” he explains. “‘If you ‘see something, say something’. If we’ve got eyes from thousands of people keeping a lookout, that helps us protect you.”
You should never hesitate to call, he says. “If you see something odd, it’s human nature to say, ‘oh, it’s probably nothing. I don’t want to bother anyone.’ But do you have a bad gut feeling about something? Is someone behaving in a way that’s just not right? Don’t think you’ll inconvenience us or automatically get someone in trouble or get them fired if you call. There are lots of different ways to help somebody.”
First Prevent, then Respond
“The mission of TVA Police aligns directly with TVA’s mission: to serve and protect the Valley,” says Large. “We’re achieving a holistic approach to protection. You have to prevent and then you have to respond. TVAP is leading the way in the law enforcement community, in my personal opinion. We train for two months at federal law enforcement training, learning about security. It’s an advanced level of knowing about protection.”
And at TVA, that extra level of training comes in handy. “It’s all about keeping employees safe, keeping property safe, keeping the grid safe. Because if electricity stops, everything stops.”
Off the job, Large and his wife and two daughters enjoy taking to their bikes or kayaks. The girls play basketball and volleyball, so there are games to attend, and the family is active in their church. No matter where he is, Large enjoys helping people.
“I like that when someone says ‘I need help,’ I can provide it,” says Large. “If I do my job, employees can do their jobs. We help keep them safe. We help keep land and water safe. We help keep power generation safe.
“I can’t think of any job description more relevant to the TVA mission than mine.”
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