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Officers Evan Thornton and Stephen Henderson Selected as October 2020 Officer of the Month Recipient 
Knoxville Police Department officers Evan Thornton and Stephen Henderson have been announced as the recipients of the October 2020 Officer of the Month Award, it was announced on Thursday. 

The KPD typically recognizes those employees who are selected to receive awards during public news conferences. Unfortunately, due to months-long and ongoing COVID-19 restrictions regarding public gatherings and social distance requirements, the KPD was unable to safely host a news conference in the second half of 2020. In lieu of that, the final award and commendation recipients of 2020 will be announced in the coming days via news release and social media. 

Evan Thornton, an investigator within the KPD’s Violent Crimes Unit, was picked by the Awards and Commendations Committee to receive Officer of the Month distinctions for his proactive and tireless efforts throughout the week of Halloween. 

Over that week, Thornton, who is assigned to the Sex Offender Registry Detail, oversaw an operation that resulted in approximately 80 sex offender compliance reviews. On one of those compliance reviews, Thornton made contact with a registered sex offender, Jeff Phillips, and discovered that Phillips was in possession of child pornography. Phillips was subsequently arrested for sexual exploitation of a minor. 

Additionally, during that operation, Thornton also discovered that one of the registered offenders had moved from his residence without reporting it. This discovery will lead to a felony charge due to the offender’s sex offender status. 

Thornton’s work throughout the week of Halloween was just one example of the great work that he does on a daily basis, both here in Knoxville and in surrounding counties, to ensure the safety of the public through the maintenance of the sex offender registry. He was recognized by the Awards and Commendations Committee not only for his individual efforts throughout the week of Halloween, but year-round contributions to the well-being and safety of the Knoxville community. 

West District patrol officer Stephen Henderson was also selected to receive October Officer of the Month recognition for his efforts to locate an individual suspected of committing numerous thefts and car burglaries around the University of Tennessee campus and Fort Sanders area. 

During the months of September and Octobers, the downtown, UT and Fort Sanders area had been hit extremely hard with a rash of thefts and vehicle burglaries. Based on the work of Property Crimes Unit investigators, several bulletins were put out regarding suspects, several of which appeared to be the same individual. 

On October 29, prior to beginning his first shift of the week, Officer Henderson took note of those bulletins and immediately worked to locate the individual while in between calls. Later that evening, Henderson observed a male matching the description of the suspect on a bicycle at Douglas and Dora, and made contact with him. 

The suspect was identified as Jason Bell, who was found to have two outstanding warrants for parole violation and auto burglary. He was also found in possession of presumed heroin, multiple knives, gift cards and a large amount of change. 

After further investigation by the Property Crimes Unit, Bell was charged with five additional offenses stemming from three separate car burglaries. 

Henderson was recognized by the Awards and Commendations Committee for his proactive efforts to locate a serial offender and diligence in patrolling his beat, which likely prevented more citizens from being victimized. 
Posted by serland On 11 February, 2021 at 11:05 AM