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KPD Selects Five Officers, One Unit for December 2020 Commendations 
Five Knoxville Police Department officers and one KPD unit have been announced as December 2020 commendation recipients, it was announced on Tuesday.  

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 have been announced over the past few weeks via news release and social media. 

For December 2020, the KPD Awards and Commendations Committee picked five officers as Officer of the Month recipients. Those officers were Gordon Johnson, Austin Brewster, Chris Medina, Jonathon Clabough and William Ferguson. In addition to that, the Personnel Unit was selected to receive a Unit Commendation for December 2020. 

Gordon Johnson and Austin Brewster were selected to receive the December 2020 Officer of the Month distinction for numerous proactive actions throughout the final month of the year. Those actions included but were not limited to the following: 

- On December 3, Officers Johnson and Brewster were conducting traffic enforcement on Magnolia Avenue when they observed a male drinking an alcoholic beverage while walking on the sidewalk. They attempted to stop the individual, who subsequently fled from them while tossing a gun into the street. After a brief pursuit, the subject was taken into custody without further incident. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the man was a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing a firearm. 

- The next night, on December 4, those same officers responded to a robbery in progress at the Regency Inn on Magnolia Avenue, where a female had been robbed and assaulted in front of her young children. After completing the initial investigation, Officer Johnson and Brewster asked the victim if she felt safe staying in the hotel room, and she answered that she did not. After that, officers attempted to locate a safe place for the victim to stay. Utilizing a contact that he had created while working the area, Officer Johnson was able to secure a hotel room for the victim and her children completely free of charge. Officer Johnson then transported the victim and her children to that hotel. 

- On December 9, Officers Johnson and Brewster were conducting traffic enforcement on Woodbine Avenue when they made a stop for a traffic violation. In the course of the subsequent investigation, officers were granted permission to search the vehicle and discovered a handgun. The rear passenger, who claimed possession of the gun, was revealed to be a convicted felon. 

- On December 15, while patrolling their beat, Officers Johnson and Brewster heard the sound of glass shattering. They investigated that disturbance and discovered that a male had broken into Machali’s Supermarket on Magnolia Avenue. The suspect was still inside the business when he observed the officers and fled the scene on foot. The suspect was quickly captured after a short pursuit and taken into custody. 

Those are just a few examples of the proactive and vigilant efforts that led to the December 2020 Officer of the Month selection for Officers Johnson and Brewster, who were commended for their thorough, exemplary and compassionate service.  

Chris Medina was also picked to receive the December 2020 Officer of the Month recognition for his actions during two separate incidents involving armed individuals experiencing mental health crises. 

The first incident occurred on December 2, when officers responded to an apartment at The Woodlands concerning a male who was intoxicated with suicidal ideations. The initial call indicated that the individual was armed and wanted to kill himself. While en route to the call, officers also learned that there were at least three other people in the apartment, adding to the possible danger of the situation. 

Prior to attempting to knock on the door, Officer Medina contacted a family member of the individual and obtained his phone number. Officer Medina then called the individual and was able to talk him into coming to the door. Officer Medina then rode in the ambulance with the individual to the hospital for the safety of the crew. During the ambulance ride, the male made an attempt to grab Officer Medina’s handgun. Despite that, the situation never escalated further and the incident was peacefully resolved thanks to Officer Medina’s quick actions and calm demeanor throughout the incident. 

The second incident occurred on December 12, when officers responded to the Hampton Inn on Weisgarber Road in reference to a call of a male subject who had sent text messages to his family indicating that he had a gun and wanted to harm himself. The details stated that the subject was a former police officer and veteran from another state. Based on those details presented to officers, the situation posed a danger to officers and other citizens. 

Officer Medina took the lead on the call and met with the sister of the subject, where he was able to keep her calm and gain as much information as he could before attempting to make contact with the subject. Officers then went to the room where the subject was staying. Officers Medina was able to make contact with the man, sat down across from him and talked to him for several minutes. Initially, the subject did not want to talk or go to the hospital, but, through continued efforts, Officer Medina was able to continue the conversation and convince him to go to an area hospital for treatment. The subject later told assisting officers that he appreciated Officer Medina’s for his time and help. 

The Awards and Commendations Committee selected Officer Medina for his calm, caring and intentional approach to two separate incidents involving individuals experiencing crises, which ultimately led to peaceful outcomes and created a pathway for those individuals to get the assistance they needed. 

The final two December 2020 Officer of the Month recipients, Jonathon Clabough and William Ferguson, were selected for their work on two separate incidents that led to the arrest of violent offenders. 

On December 8 at around 9:45 a.m., officers responded to a robbery in the parking lot of Knox Wood Hills Apartments on Wimpole Avenue. The female victim stated a male suspect had shoved her to the ground and fled the scene in her vehicle. The stolen vehicle reportedly crashed into a pole a short distance from where it was stolen. A male subject was observed exiting the wrecked vehicle and getting into another SUV. That SUV was later found abandoned on Holston Drive and witnesses stated that three subjects had exited the SUV and fled on foot. 

At around 10:50 a.m., Officers Clabough and Ferguson observed three subjects matching the description of those that fled from the SUV while walking in the alley between Lilac Avenue and Zenia Street. The suspects fled as officers approached, but officers located a backpack dropped by one of the suspects while fleeing. With that, officers discovered the name of a young female who attended an area high school. 

Through follow-up investigation conducted by Officers Clabough and Ferguson on December 9, the female was located and interviewed, and the other two involved suspects were identified. Based on the outcome of that interview, the female was charged with robbery, motor vehicle theft and evading, while charges were also placed on the other two participants. 

On December 15 at around noon, Officers Clabough and Ferguson responded to the 700 block of Lula Powell Drive, where two female victims stated that multiple shots had been fired into their apartment. Witnesses stated that they heard the gunshots and saw a male and female running from the scene and get into a white SUV. Witnesses were also able to point out the SUV sitting in the parking lot of the Pinnacle Apartments. 

Officers Clabough and Ferguson approached the SUV and found a male and female inside of the SUV as well as a loaded handgun. The male was charged with felony vandalism, felony reckless endangerment and unlawful possession of a handgun, while those same charges were later placed on file for the female. 

The Awards and Commendations Committee selected Clabough and Ferguson to receive the December Officer of the Month award for the dedication, beat knowledge and professionalism displayed during those two incidents, which led to the arrest of several violent offenders. 

In addition to the five officers selected to receive the December 2020 Officer of the Month award, the Personnel Unit was picked to receive a Unit Commendation for December 2020.  

The Personnel Unit, comprised of Lieutenant Bryan Malone, Officer JaJuan Hamilton, Officer Fred Kimber and Administrative Assistant Amy Boring, was selected for commendation due in large part to their tireless efforts during the most recent recruitment campaign. As part of that, the Personnel Unit worked together with the KPD’s marketing and branding partners to launch a new recruiting-specific website, www.joinknoxpd.com. That website along with the persistence of the Personnel Unit yielded a 29 percent increase in applications. The Personnel Unit also worked with Civil Service and Human Resources to improve and shorten the hiring process. Thanks to the work of the Personnel Unit, the hiring process – application to the start of the academy – was cut from nine or more months down to about six months, enabling the department to retain a greater number of applicants. 

While working through that massive project, the Personnel Unit continued to display a willingness and commitment to assist all members of the Knoxville Police Department whenever and however possible. For that, the Personnel Unit was picked to receive the December 2020 Unit Commendation.

Posted by serland On 23 March, 2021 at 8:57 AM