The City of Knoxville boasts around 170,000 residents in its
101-square-mile radius. And whether you live in the city or are simply
breezing through, you've most likely produced some bit of garbage. And
try as we all might, sometimes that trash doesn't make it to the proper
That's where third-shift public service foreman Steve Caspelich and his crew of fewer than a dozen come in. Yes, fewer than a dozen city employees combing the streets after-hours to make sure Knoxville stays as beautiful as its residents expect.
"By and large, everyone does their job," Caspelich said. "They do an excellent job. I've got no complaints with the job they do. It's A-1, top-shelf work that they do."
From 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., they pick up trash, sweep streets, and respond to weather, car wrecks, and more.
"I actually have fun working downtown or just working in general for the city, because it's a way to give back to the community," said Arturo Cano, a public service worker. "It's your tax payers dollars at work."
And taking care of the city in which they live adds an element of added respect to the job.
"When you go around and look at anything and people are like, man, it's beautiful around here, or Knoxville is a really clean city...we're all a part of that," worker Matt Thornton said. "So you have a sense of pride of taking care of the city you are living in."
They say Labor Day weekend is the busiest for the service department. Between Boomsday and the first football game of the season at Neyland Stadium, many employees are on shift for 24 consecutive hours.