KNOXVILLE (WATE) – When heroic teen Zaevion Dobson was killed shielding his friends from gunfire back in December, followed by the shooting death of Jajuan Lathan in April, Knoxville got a different glimpse of Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch.
Police Chief Rausch does wear a few different hats. He’s in charge of crime fighting at a pivotal time in Knoxville. He’s also a dad and a grandfather. Put all those things together and people say David Rausch has a real heart for the job.
“This has got to stop. This is the second innocent young person in our community that has had their life ended by senseless violence… by cowards. This has got to end,” said Chief Rausch as a press conference on April 17, 2016. An emotional chief of police echoing the sentiments of an entire community in his call to end gang violence after the death of Jajuan Latham, 12, and before him Zaevion Dobson, 15.
He isn’t Chief Rausch, but grandpa to his talented softball playing granddaughter. “She’s my princess. She won me over right away,” said Rausch.
Chief Rausch love playing his granddaughter play ball. At the game he wears a baseball camp and a t-shirt that reads “For many are called, but a few are chosen,” from the book of Matthew.
Many say it is Chief Rausch’s blend of compassion and strength that make him the right guy for the position. That’s something he’s pretty modest about.
“My background has prepared me to be strong in what I do, in terms of my military background and my background in policing. You know, I spent 10 years on the SWAT team, so some people don’t cry, but you know when you face the tragedies that we face, I would say if those things don’t get to you, then there is something not real about you,” said Rausch.
It’s Rausch’s leadership style and commitment to curbing the gang problem in Knoxville that prompted the Beta Theta Boule’ Foundation to honor him during during their upcoming Father’s Day celebration. He is one of eight men in East Tennessee honored at “A Tribute to Fatherhood” on June 19 from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Foundry at World’s Fair Park.
The idea is to celebrate good dads as an inspiration for all dads out there to be there for their families. They will also present a scholarship to a deserving student in Zaevion Dobson’s name.
“Pull away from the fact that he’s a police chief. He exemplifies that fatherhood and father figure to his family and to his community,” said Sheadrick Tillman IV with Beta Theta Boule Foundation.
Chief Rausch has been with the Knoxville Police Department since 1993, serving as chief since 2011.
“It’s a true honor to be selected and specifically for this. And the fact that this is providing a scholarship recognizing the sacrifice of Zaevion Dobson,” said Rausch.
Tickets to “A Tribute to Fatherhood” are $50 and reservations are due by June 8. For reservations, contact Nat Foster at (865) 386-4067 or email at email@example.com.
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