Response to Email for Help Earns Employee Special Award

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Response to Email for Help Earns Employee Special Award

Posted: 02/27/2013
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Police Chief David Rausch named Debbie Moore the December Employee of the Month for the Knoxville Police Department. Ms. Moore has been with the department since 1979.

Chief Rausch said on December 6, 2012, at approximately 1:39 p.m., an email came in to the generic "chiefofpolice" email address. The majority of email that comes into this account can be classified as either junk-mail or unsolicited sales information from vendors in police equipment and technology.

Chief Rausch said, "Ms. Moore was reviewing the inbox when she noticed an unusual looking email. After opening the email, Debbie discovered it was from a person claiming to have been brutally assaulted and being held hostage in a vehicle leaving the Knoxville area."

Debbie immediately began seeking someone to investigate the email. She was able to reach Sgt. Sean Hejna of the Violent Crimes Unit with whom she shared the contents of the email.

Sgt. Hejna was able to make contact with the victim via email. The victim indicated she and her assailant were partner drivers for a trucking company and had just dropped off a delivery and were headed to Laredo, TX. After unloading at the Forks of the River Industrial Park in Knox County, the male suspect hit and chocked the victim to unconsciousness. The suspect then threw the victim into the sleeper cab of the truck and began driving away. The victim indicated she did not have a functioning cell phone so she used a computer in the truck to send an email to a friend in Georgia. That friend then forwarded the email to the "chiefofpolice" email address.

Between information provided by the victim and the victim's company, Sgt. Hejna was able to direct the Tennessee Highway Patrol and Bradley County Sheriff's Office to stop the vehicle in Bradley County. Bradley County Deputies and Tennessee Highway Patrol Troopers were able to substantiate the claims of the victim and arrest the suspect.

Chief Rausch said, "If not for the immediate action by Debbie, this situation could have ended tragically for the victim."

Mayor Rogero said, "Citizens hear often of the great work carried out on a daily basis by our uniformed officers. But there are also numerous civilian employees who do a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes that also helps to keep our community safe. We commend Ms. Moore for her swift actions that resulted in the capture of a violent suspect and assisted a victim in her time of need."