Knoxville police officers, citizens honored by chief and mayor

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch honored several officers Wednesday.

Officer Keith Lyon

Lyon was named the August Officer of the Month. He has been an officer with Knoxville Police Department since 1994.

In August 2016, Knoxville Police Department said Knox and Blount counties had a surge of tire thefts overnight at several tire and automotive stores. On August 24, officers became aware of a suspect in the case and Chief Rausch said Officer Lyon took the information and began tracking leads on the suspect. Rausch says Lyon’s hard work paid off.

August 25 was Lyon’s work paid off, according to Rausch. He said Lyons received information from an employee of a tire distributor of a possible location that the suspect may be staying. The motel ended up not being the location, but in checking with nearby motels, Rausch said Lyon was able to locate the suspect’s vehicle. He requested backup and was able to take the suspect into custody. The suspect was arrested on multiple felony cases.

Chief Rausch said, “Officer Lyon’s initiative and diligence on this case is precisely what made the difference, which ultimately resulted in the subject’s arrest. His actions not only removed a prolific burglar off the streets, but is an example to others on how hard work and diligence in investigating cases pays off. Congratulations on a job well-done to help keep Knoxville safe.”

Knoxville Police Department’s Honor Guard

Members of the Knoxville Police Department’s Honor Guard were awarded for their service and performance during the funeral services for fallen officer Kenny Moats. In 2015, the Honor Guard completed approximately 40 funerals, memorials, ceremonies, mayoral events and presentations of the Colors at many other functions.

“No assignment is more important than to provide services and respect to a fallen officer and their family,” said Chief Rausch. “That was the case when Maryville Police Department Officer Kenny Moats was tragically killed in the line of duty on August 25, 2016. That heartbreaking day brought the East Tennessee community together including law enforcement.”

After the ceremony, Chief Rausch said he received a letter from Sgt. Shaun O’Neal with the Maryville Police Department saying, “laying our brother to rest hurt all of us. It hurt me a great deal as I was Kenny’s primary training officer and worked closely with him throughout his career in patrol and traffic. The pride your team inspired in me did a lot to help alleviate that pain. As I watched the reverence and respect shown by you and your team as you stood, as you changed the guards, my focus switched from the emptiness left by Kenny’s death to a feeling of pride in knowing how humbled Kenny would have felt at being paid so much honor and respect.”

Sgt. O’Neal closed his letter by saying, “the professionalism, respect and precision you each displayed will not be forgotten. I will speak of it for the rest of my career and beyond. You and your team have brought great credit to yourselves and your agency.”

Officer Steve Frazier

Officer Steve Frazier was named the October Officer of the Month. He has been with Knoxville Police Department since January 1997.

While working in the downtown area, Chief Rausch said Officer Frazier received multiple calls about a disabled homeless woman in Market Square. Callers said the woman was confined to a wheelchair that was broken, was unable to care for herself and was left stranded and upset.

Chief Rausch said Officer Frazier noticed her and was able to find a repair company that would respond to downtown to assist with repairs. After the incident, Officer Frazier realized the condition of the woman, both physically and mentally.

Officer Frazier began reaching out to services such as Adult Protected Services, KARM and Helen Ross McNabb in hopes of finding assistance for the woman, according to Rausch. His initial efforts failed, but Rausch said he worked on the matter on and off for weeks, finally receiving a call from a representative of Helen Ross Mcnabb. He was able to get the woman into housing located in the Fountain City area.

“Officer Frazier’s efforts played a vital part in obtaining housing and and saving the female from the streets,” said Chief Rausch. “His compassion, persistence and dedication to serve went beyond the normal expectations of his duties.”

Adel Agounine and Steve Richards

Two citizens were honored for helping Knoxville Police Officer apprehend a fleeing felon.

On September 20, 2016 EMS workers responded to a possible overdose of an unconscious male in a vehicle near Chapman Highway. When the man was determined to be under the influence of drugs, they requested Knoxville Police Department for assistance.

After arriving, officers said they determined the man had multiple outstanding arrest warrants. He ran about 400 feet, entered a vehicle occupied by an 11-year-old boy and 74-year-old grandmother and attempted to carjack them. When the officers surrounded the vehicle, police said the suspect was pushing the woman out of the car.

Chief Rausch said officers were able to enter the vehicle and Tase the suspect, allowing one officer to get the child out of the passenger side of the car. A second officer tried to control the suspect’s movements, but he was sitting on top of the 74-year-old woman. Rausch said the suspect put the car in reverse and started backing the car out of the parking lot, dragging the officer and woman with him.

Adel Agounine saw what was going on Rausch said he drove behind the car, preventing the suspect from getting away. He said the vehicles collided and officers were able to subdue the suspect.

Police said Steve Richards also saw what was going on and came to the officer’s aid, enabling them to remove and secure the suspect. The 11-year-old were unharmed and the 74-year-old received minor injuries to her arm.

Police said the suspect had been driving a stolen U-Haul box truck that was involved in a hit and run earlier in the day on Rutledge Pike at Loves Creek. During that incident, officers said the suspect and an unknown woman struck three vehicles and a bridge abutment while trying to flee the scene.

“The suspect was a violent fleeing felon that would stop at nothing to avoid capture as shown in both incidents. Mr. Richards and Mr. Agounine had no duty to assist the victims or the officers. Their selfless acts in the face of inherent danger brought about swift resolution to this violent encounter.”

Officer Joseph Bowers

Chief Rausch named Officer Joseph Bowers the November Officer of the Month. Officers Bowers has been with Knoxville Police Department since November 2007.

On November 17, 2016 at around 6:58 a.m., Chief Rausch said Officer Bowers responded to a business burglary at All In One Automotive located at1925 Callahan Drive. Later that day, he said Bowers received a call at The Scottish Inn located at 201 Callahan Drive that reported a man was painting a double axle flatbed trailer that was believed to have been stolen a few days earlier.

When Bowers arrived at the location of the flatbed trailer, there was a man walking around the trailer, but he denied ownership of the truck or trailer, according to Rausch. He said Bowers noticed a Dell modem with an All In One Automotive sticker lying in the bed of the truck.

Knocking on the suspect’s motel door, Chief Rausch said Bowers saw items that had been stolen from All In One Automative burglary that morning. The suspect was arrested and Rausch said more than $12,000 in stolen property was recovered.

“One again Officer Bowers shows his exemplary skills as an officer and proves that one is never off the clock,” said Chief Rausch.

Brandi Carson

Brandi Carson was named the November Civilian Employee of the Month for the Knoxville Police Department.

Carson is assigned to the Special Crimes Unit where she works with victims of domestic violence. After her regular 40-hour work week, Chief Rausch said Carson serves a crime victim advocate, contacting victims and family members in order to provide timely communications about open homicide and sexual assault cases.

In November 2016, Chief Rausch said Carson helped investigators with a 4-year-old sexual assault cold case. Over the months waiting for a lead to surface, he said she helped calm the victim’s anxiety by answering questions and providing updates about the investigation. He said she worked with investigators and a public information officer to release additional information on the cold case which led investigators to identify the suspect.

Captain John Kiely

Captain John Kiely was giving the December of the Month for the Knoxville Police Department. He has been with Knoxville Police Department since 1998.

On December 14, 2015, Captain Kiely saw a black SUV with two occupants in the parking lot of Goldy’s Gym located at 8445 Kingston Pike. Officers said the occupants appeared to be scoping the parking lot.

After keeping surveillance on the vehicle for several minutes, Chief Raucsh said Captain Kiely requested a marked unit respond to the location. The two then approached the SUV and found the two occupants had just exchanged roughly 85.7 grams of suspected methamphetamine, 32.4 grams of suspect heroin and various pills. Also inside the vehicle, police said they found three firearms with ammunition and $2,400 on the driver. The driver of the car was discovered to be on probation.

“The observance, contact and good follow-up displayed by Captain Kiely was critical in establishing that the couple was suspicious in nature. Following through on that information resulted in a sizable drug seizure. In addition, a potentially dangerous felon that was armed with multiple handguns was taken off the street.”

Officer Chip Braeunder

Officer Chip Breauner was awarded the Knoxville Police Department’s Lifesaving Award. Officer Braeuner has been with the Knoxville Police Department since 1994.

On December 23, 2015, Chief Rausch said Officer Braeuner and Officer Jim Quick were having lunch when food became lodged in his throat, completely blocking his airway. Rausch said Officer Braeuner was able to recognize was happening and without hesitation perform the Heimlich maneuver on Officer Quick.

“Officer Braeuner’s quick thinking, calm reasoning and actions, saved the life of a fellow officer,” said Chief Rausch. “Congratulations on a job well done.”

Officer Kyle Loveday

Officer Kyle Loveday was awarded the Knoxville Police Department’s Lifesaving Award. He has been with the Knoxville Police Department since August 2008.

on January 2017, Chief Rausch said he received a letter from a Knoxville resident who recounted a horrific night in November where he nearly took his own life. The letter said the man had been a long-term alcoholic for 30 years, was drunk and made an irrational decision to take his life with a firearm.

The man sent an email to a relative who was a lawyer to prepare his will and called 911 and informed them of his intent with the purpose of having an officer nearby to eliminate any question of foul play, according to the letter. The man said he walked to the end of his driveway, put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger, then the gun clicked and then he ejected the unspent round and loaded another round into the weapon. This time the man said he did a test fire into the ground which was successful and he returned to his house to retrieve a third round when he decided to end his life by swallowing 30 clonazepam pills.

Chief Rausch said first responders set up a perimeter because they knew the man had a gun and had already fired the weapon. A relative of the man reached out to Officer Loveday to request help. He was able to establish communication with the man over the phone, get the man out of the house and taken to the hospital for treatment.

“After having serious intervention with his family, the citizen checked himself into a detox and rehab center on December 1. He is now sober, educated and determined to make a whole new life for himself,” said Chief Rausch.

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