Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN

Melvin Holland

From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Brewer Printing Company, Jackson, Tennessee, n.d.).

This People of Action, issued circa 1969, reproduced newspaper clippings about people in Decatur County. Most items probably were written in the mid 1960s. Most, but not all, of the items were written by Lillye Younger herself and most, but not all, appeared in the Jackson Sun. The photographs, which in the book were poorly reproduced from clippings, have not been scanned.

Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make these web pages.

Thanks to www.tnyesterday.com for contributing this transcription.

Patrolman Reveals ‘Trade Secrets'

PARSONS, Tenn. — A Decatur County highway patrolman, "singing like a canary," has leaked out some "trade secrets."

For example:

"We arrest more men for speeding than women . . . it could be we feel sorry for the women."

This revelation came from Patrolman Melvin Ardell Holland of Parsons, a veteran of more than 11 years on the Patrol, and a man who is able to honestly look at himself and his fellow patrolmen and come up with a few down-to-earth truths.

"Attitudes play a big part with a patrolman. Most people take a negative attitude and some like to argue when picked up for speeding," Holland says.

Decatur countians are hereby served fair warning about arguing with Patrolman Holland. His views on the matter are simple and direct.

"I do not argue. The first thing I do is check the drivers license. Then I tell the driver what traffic law he has violated. In some cases the person denies the violation, but the patrolman has the facts or he would not have stopped the driver."

Right in the middle of these statements, Patrolman Holland made one observation that will surprise no one — in fact it is the understatement of the year: "People, as a rule, drive better when a highway patrolman is driving behind them."

Aside from serving as a sort of rolling conscience for motorists in his district, Holland's duties are many. One minor duty will be of interest to some younger readers.

"Occasionally I get a call reporting drag racing. Most of the time it is over before we get there, but a few times I've appeared at the scene of the race. I have never convicted anyone for drag racing — all the ones I've charged have had their charges reduced to reckless driving."

According to Holland, penalties that could result from drag racing are pretty stiff, and ought to be discouraging to area dragsters.

For a first offense, says Holland, the penalty is not less than $50 nor more than $100 fine. revocation of drivers license far not less than a year nor more than 10 years and a six month jail sentence, if the judge rules it.

The second offense could carry a fine of $100 to $1,000, jail sentence from 30 days to one year with no suspension under 30 days. If the judge so directs, the unlucky hot rodder's license could be revoked permanently.

Other duties include patrolling the highways, assisting city police should they need help in traffic control or making arrests, cooperating with the sheriff's office and other agencies and checking drivers licenses and conditions of cars.

"Sometimes we pick up people who are driving while intoxicated and take them to jail. We also assist in tracking down fugitives by use of road blocks.

"Our guns are very seldom used except for target practice," Holland said.

"I work nine hours a day, but am subject to calls any time. I'm paid a monthly salary. We patrolmen don't get anything out of the tickets we write contrary to some peoples' beliefs

"I try to treat everyone alike and not show ‘favoritism.' I feel like if I didn't treat my friends like everyone else, they wouldn't be my friends long. Some people don't want justice, only mercy," Holland says.

Holland and his fellow worker now are studying types of safety measures to be used at Decatur County's new Riverside High School.

Others working on this project, Holland said, include Lt. Bill Way, safety consultant from Jackson, and Harold Holmes, principal of the school. The recommendations will be presented to the Decatur Board of Education.

The patrolman served as a medic in the Air Force during World War II. He is married to the former Gazelle Walker of Enville and they have four children: Glenda, 6; Melinda, 9, Ralph, who graduated from Parsons High School this year and Stanley, who is employed at a local plant. The Hollands live at 307 West First Street in Parsons.

"The life of a patrolman is not easy, but it is rewarding work and I like it. Every day is a busy day."

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