Consistent Performance and Commitment to Help Keep Citizens Safe Earns Officer Top Award

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Consistent Performance and Commitment to Help Keep Citizens Safe Earns Officer Top Award

Posted: 05/01/2014

May 1, 2014 - Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Police Chief David Rausch named Lt. Gordon Gwathney the 2013 Officer of the Year. Lt. Gwathney has been with the Knoxville Police Department since January 1997.

Chief Rausch said although Lt. Gwathney is tasked with the daily administrative duties required of a patrol lieutenant, he still makes time to work alongside the patrol officers. Throughout 2013, Lt. Gwathney continued his commitment to identify and arrest intoxicated drivers and has made DUI enforcement a top priority for the members of East Echo Squad. Through Lt. Gwathney's leadership and direction, it is not unusual for his squad to lead the district in monthly DUI arrests.

In December 2013, Lt. Gwathney was selected the DUI Officer of the Year by the Governor's Highway Safety Office.

"Through his relentless efforts to reduce the number of intoxicated drivers on our roadways, Lt. Gwathney recorded 31 DUI arrests during 2013," Chief Rausch said.

Lt. Gwathney is highly knowledgeable in DUI detection and enforcement and eagerly shares his expertise with other officers who have conducted DUI stops.

In addition to DUI enforcement, Lt. Gwathney has also demonstrated a commitment to other departmental goals by focusing on arresting violent offenders, specifically those involving serious drug offenses.

Lt. Gwathney recorded 37 felony arrests during 2013 including:

On 1-7-13, Lt. Gwathney identified and located a suspect vehicle involved in the violent robbery of Vic and Bill's on Broadway and several other businesses. A suspect was transported to the third floor and gave a full confession implicating two additional suspects. Lt. Gwathney then located an additional suspect and after a short foot pursuit was able to place the suspect into custody.

On 3-19-13, Lt. Gwathney responded to a report of a suspicious person on Isabella Circle. He was able to locate the individual and found on his person multiple bags of marijuana packaged for resale along with other drug related items. Lt. Gwathney was able to charge the suspect with a violation of the Drug Free School Zone among other charges based on his quick response to the location and ability to locate and apprehend the suspect.

On 4-24-13, Lt. Gwathney, after conducting a short investigation, was able to identify a possible suspect vehicle in a strong-armed robbery that had occurred at Knoxville Center Mall earlier in the day. He was able to match the vehicle's description with other similar cases that had previously occurred in other areas of the city and where a possible tag number had been provided. Lt. Gwathney located the vehicle and possible suspects and initiated a traffic stop. Based largely on Lt. Gwathney's demeanor and personal communication ability, he was able to obtain a confession in the robbery and was able to retrieve the stolen purse and other stolen items from the suspects. Two suspects were charged with robbery based solely on his detailed investigation and follow up. One suspect was also charged with an armed robbery from the previous year.

On 11-19-13, Lt. Gwathney responded with several other East Echo Squad officers to a residence on Jacksboro Pike after officers located a suspect vehicle that had been involved in numerous residential burglaries in the area. Lt. Gwathney was the on-scene supervisor and coordinated efforts to identify and locate the possible suspects in a nearby apartment complex. The suspects were located in an apartment and eventually opened the door and surrendered to officers. As a result of the investigation, approximately seven residential burglaries were cleared. Stolen items recovered included televisions, jewelry, and firearms.

On 12-24-13, Lt. Gwathney observed two suspicious individuals in the parking lot of Knoxville Center Mall. Upon further investigation, Lt. Gwathney observed several shopping bags that had been hidden underneath vehicles in the parking lot. Lt. Gwathney approached the suspects and determined that they were in possession of large quantities of stolen merchandise. As a result of his observations and subsequent investigation, the two suspects were found to be in possession of over $1100 worth of stolen items from five businesses in the mall. In addition, over $1000 worth of items stolen from the Walmart on Kinzel Way was also recovered. All items were returned to the businesses and the suspects were charged with fifteen (15) misdemeanor charges and three (3) felony charges of theft.

Chief Rausch said, Lt. Gwathney's actions have led to the arrest of many intoxicated drivers and violent offenders and have significantly impacted the property crimes within the East District. His performance has led to the recovery and return of many stolen items. In addition to his own dedication, Lt. Gwathney has inspired those around him to perform at an optimal level as well.

Click here to view a listing of previous KPD award winners.