Tennessee Highway Patrol Announces 2011 Trooper of the Year
Friday, February 17, 2012 | 06:06am
NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Highway Patrol named Trooper Dwayne Stanford the2011 Trooper of the Year at an award ceremony held Thursday evening. This marks the second consecutive year Trooper Stanford, a third generation State Trooper, has earned the honor. He was also recognized in Gov. Bill Haslam’s State of the State address in January.
Additionally, seven other State Troopers received Trooper of the Year honors in their respective districts. Awards were also given to the Investigator of the Year and Interdiction Trooper of the Year, while 10 troopers were also recognized for their DUI enforcement.
“It is a privilege to honor the recipients of this year’s Trooper of the Year award,” Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. “These men and women represent just a small number of State Troopers who are on the front lines every day to ensure Tennessee is a great place to live and work. We thank them for being true public servants for the state.”
“The 12 individuals recognized tonight are true examples of what our agency stands for – professionalism, integrity and pride,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. “This job can be a thankless profession at times. It’s important that the troopers in the field see that we recognize their sacrifices, we honor their commitment and we are thankful for their dedication to service and safety.”
Trooper Dwayne Stanford earned the Trooper of the Year honor after several significant events throughout the year, including the arrest of suspects involved in armed robbery, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, possible terrorism, home invasions, and possession of stolen guns and stolen vehicles. Most notably, Trooper Stanford initiated a traffic stop on September 28, 2011, where he was shot in the chest by the vehicle’s passenger. The vehicle was pulled over for traffic related violations on Interstate-40 westbound near mile marker 115. Trooper Stanford took the female driver into custody for an outstanding criminal warrant. While returning to the stopped vehicle, the male passenger stepped out and fired a weapon at Trooper Stanford. Trooper Stanford returned fire, and shot and killed the passenger. Trooper Stanford was shot once in the chest during the incident. He was wearing a bullet-proof vest. Trooper Stanford joined the Department of Safety and Homeland Security in 2002 as a Communications Dispatcher and was later commissioned as a State Trooper in 2007. His initial assignment was as a Road Trooper in Fayette County until being transferred to Henderson County in the Jackson District in 2008, where he remains today. Trooper Stanford earned the 2010 Trooper of the Year honor after locating a juvenile who was kidnapped out of Maryland on February 13, 2010. Trooper Stanford was awarded House Joint Resolution No. 1313 by the state of Tennessee House of Representatives and the U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation for his enforcement efforts.
Trooper John R. Carr received the THP Knoxville District’s Trooper of the Year honors. Stationed in Loudon County, Trooper Carr consistently excels in his efforts to reduce crime and make the roadways safe through enforcement. In 2011, he arrested 52 individuals driving under the influence and apprehended 11 felonies. Trooper Carr also issued 1,368 total citations, including 214 seatbelt and child restraint device tickets. He has also conducted 189 commercial motor vehicle inspections. Additionally, Trooper Carr has handled numerous criminal interdiction stops during the course of the year. He is a member of the THP Knoxville District Strike Team and was recently elected by his peers as a representative for the district’s Trooper Advisory Board. Trooper Carr is a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, assisting with Child Restraint Device Checkpoints across the district. He has diligently served the Tennessee Highway Patrol since January of 2007.
Trooper Jason Boles received Trooper of the Year honors for the THP Chattanooga District after saving a child’s life on October 3, 2011. On that morning, Trooper Boles encountered a female walking along a county road in near freezing temperatures in Coffee County. The subject was barefoot with very little clothing on and wrapped in a blanket. After conversing with the subject, Trooper Boles drove the female back to where her car was located. The female then asked if her baby was in the vehicle. Trooper Boles quickly exited his unit and discovered a 12-month old female child in a car seat, wearing only a diaper and a shirt. The vehicle was not running and the infant was unresponsive and cold to touch. Trooper Boles finally aroused the baby, wrapped her in his jacket and placed her in the patrol unit. He immediately requested an ambulance to meet them on a main roadway and the mother and baby were transported to the hospital. The child was found to have a core temperature near hypothermia. Upon further investigation, the mother and father tested positive for methamphetamine. The child has made a full recovery and was placed into the custody of grandparents. Trooper Boles began his career with the THP in 2002, during which time he has become one of the Chattanooga District’s top troopers in DUI enforcement and felony arrests.
Trooper Michael Cummins earned the Trooper of the Year nod for the THP Nashville District. After serving as a Field Training Officer, an adjunct instructor at the THP Training Center and spending over six weeks in specialized schools this year, Trooper Cummins still shared the top spot in the district with 114 DUI arrests in 2011. In 2010, he finished second in the Nashville District in DUI enforcement and third overall in the state. Additionally, Trooper Cummins placed in the top five percent in overall activity in THP’s District 3. He issued 800 total citations, made 117 arrests, conducted 40 commercial vehicle inspections and investigated 69 crashes. Trooper Cummins is constantly praised in the law enforcement community and judicial system, with local judges and District Attorney’s recognizing his case preparation. He has a well-earned reputation, tremendous pride in the patrol and makes a difference in the community every day.
The Memphis District Trooper of the Year honor was awarded to Trooper John Clark. A five-year veteran of the THP, Trooper Clark apprehended a wanted felon on August 23, 2011. He had received a “be on the lookout” from the Jackson Police Department for a vehicle involved in a shooting at a Wal-Mart in South Jackson. Trooper Clark ran the vehicle registration of the suspect vehicle and proceeded to the area of the suspects’ residence. While en route, Trooper Clark observed the suspect vehicle, verified the license plate number and attempted to make a traffic stop. The driver refused to stop and a pursuit ensued. After a short distance, the vehicle turned into a private drive, the driver exited the vehicle and continued toward the house. Trooper Clark pursued the suspect into the house, where he attempted to reach a gun cabinet. With the help of two occupants in the house, Trooper Clark was able to handcuff the subject and place him in the patrol unit until Jackson Police Officers arrived and took custody of him. The suspect was eventually identified as the person responsible for the shooting incident in Jackson.
Trooper Mark Self earned Trooper of the Year for the Fall Branch District. On October 11, 2011, he helped deliver a healthy baby girl on Interstate 40 eastbound at the 379.6 mile marker in Knoxville. After returning from Nashville, a motorist flagged down Trooper Self on the side of the interstate. The driver of the vehicle explained that his wife was in labor. Trooper Self notified THP dispatch and requested an ambulance. Once he returned to the vehicle, the female passenger, who was positioned in the back seat, began delivering.
Trooper Self immediately assisted her in the completion of the birth and delivered a 6 pound, 3 ounce baby girl at 6:46 p.m. A native of Newport, Tenn., Trooper Self is a 14-year veteran of the Highway Patrol and a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
Trooper Chris Adams was named Trooper of the Year for THP’s Cookeville District. In March 2011, Trooper Adams, an Interdiction Plus Trooper, stopped a 2005 Freightliner tractor trailer with California tags for a traffic violation at mile marker 306 westbound on Interstate-40. A standard commercial vehicle inspection ensued, where Trooper Adams became suspicious after speaking to the driver and finding discrepancies in his log book. After requesting and subsequently obtaining consent to search the trailer and tractor’s cab, the Trooper sought assistance from the Monterey Police Department, an Interdiction Plus partner. The Monterey Officer deployed his K-9, receiving alerts on the load of the trailer. The vehicle was then moved to a local trucking company where it was off-loaded. Officers discovered that duct taped bundles within sealed cases of bottled water filled the trailer. Officers found more than $4 million of U.S. currency inside the duct taped bundles. (Authorities seized a total amount of $4,078,713.) Trooper Adams is a member of Strike Team 6, a Field Training Officer, and was selected by his peers to serve on the Trooper Advisory Board.
Trooper Ronny Wright, assigned to Marshall County, was chosen as Trooper of the Year for THP’s Lawrenceburg District. On June 28, 2011, the THP Lawrenceburg Communications Center broadcasted a “be on the lookout” for a subject wanted in connection with a shooting that occurred in Bedford County. The subject, who was believed to have been armed, was also actively being pursued by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) on outstanding warrants for (3) counts of aggravated kidnapping, (3) counts of aggravated assault, (1) count of aggravated burglary, (1) count of carrying a weapon with the intent to go armed and (1) count of bond conditions. Trooper Wright observed the vehicle in rural Marshall County and attempted to make a traffic stop. Upon stopping the vehicle, a female driver ran towards the patrol unit and the suspect exited the passenger side of the vehicle and sprinted into the woods. Trooper Wright requested K-9 and aerial support and established a perimeter. The subject was located in the woods approximately one hour later. However, the suspect fatally shot himself before officers could take him into custody. It was later learned that the driver in this incident was another victim of kidnapping. The suspect ordered her at gunpoint to transport him to Lewisburg, Tenn., where he allegedly planned to murder the victims of the original kidnapping incident. Trooper Wright’s diligence prevented serious injury or loss of life to the original kidnapping victims.
The THP’s Interdiction Trooper of the Year honor was awarded to Trooper Michael Robertson of the Cookeville District. Trooper Robertson joined the state’s Highway Patrol in 2002 and has served as an Interdiction Plus team member for the last three years. In 2011, Trooper Robertson made four significant traffic stops that led him to achieving this honor. He made a traffic stop that resulted in the seizure of two pounds of marijuana, three grams of methamphetamine and other drug paraphernalia in January 2011. A consent search was later performed on the driver’s home by THP and several law enforcement agencies, where a working meth lab was discovered. The suspect’s probation was then revoked. In February 2011, Trooper Robertson smelled the odor of marijuana after stopping a vehicle in Putnam County. Trooper Robertson conducted a probable cause search, where a K-9 alerted to several jars of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. A further search uncovered four pounds of marijuana, hash oil, 15 blotters of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), four grams of powder ecstasy and two grams of cocaine. In June, Trooper Robertson discovered more than $87,000 in U.S. currency after stopping a Penske Rental truck. The driver was a known drug felon from New York. In December, Trooper Robertson made a traffic stop on a convicted felon. After receiving consent to search the vehicle, he found a bullet in the front seat. The suspect later gave Trooper Robertson consent to search his residence where he discovered a stolen all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and recovered a pistol and rifle. With the help of THP’s Criminal Investigations Division (CID) and the Federal Task Force, Trooper Robertson traveled to another residence and recovered more stolen items. Trooper Robertson maintained some of the highest numbers of all Interdiction Plus Troopers in the area of total vehicle stops, crashes worked and citations written.
Trooper Ronda Sherley was named Trooper of the Year for THP’s District 9 (administration). Trooper Sherley is assigned to the THP Capitol Detail. She has proven her commitment to the success of the Detail and
Highway Patrol with hard work, calm under pressure, and attention to detail. Trooper Sherley volunteers to work during times of manpower shortages and stays late when working her normal shift. Trooper Sherley does not limit her goodwill to only workdays, as she has also assisted her fellow employees after hours. Whether it’s driving someone to hospital appointments, or watching their pets when they’re out of town or helping to remodel a home, Trooper Sherley is always there to lend a helping hand. She is a model State Trooper who goes above and beyond expectations.
Trooper Kevin Curtis and Sergeant Matt Minter have earned the THP Co-Investigator of the Year honors. Both Trooper Curtis and Sgt. Minter, a member of the agency’s Criminal Investigations Division (CID), were instrumental in identifying a felon involved in a triple fatality crash in Marion County on June 4. On that date, the suspect was driving a stolen truck when he encountered a Jeep and began ramming the vehicle, until it was forced off the roadway, overturned and killed three occupants. The driver of the Jeep was the sole survivor. The suspect fled the scene. However, through intense efforts by Trooper Curtis and Sgt. Minter, the suspect was eventually linked to the crime and charged with three counts of murder. Both troopers spent many hours on this case both on-and-off the clock.
2011 – Top 10 Troopers Honored for DUI Enforcement
1. Trooper Michael Cummins, Nashville District - 114 arrests
1. Trooper Michael Marvin, Nashville District - 114 arrests
2. Trooper Jonathan Street, Fall Branch District - 108 arrests
3. Trooper Jeffrey Appleba, Fall Branch District - 92 arrests
4. Trooper John Grinder, Nashville District - 84 arrests
5. Trooper Eric Miller, Knoxville District - 54 arrests
6. Trooper Scott Lewis, Chattanooga District - 53 arrests
7. Trooper John Carr, Knoxville District - 52 arrests
8. Trooper Chad Bilbrey, Nashville District - 51 arrests
9. Trooper Jason Cannon, Nashville District - 46 arrests
10. Trooper Charles Lyles, Chattanooga District – 45 arrests
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The Tennessee Department of Safety’s mission is (www.TN.Gov/safety) to ensure the safety and general welfare of the public. The department encompasses the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Office of Homeland Security and Driver License Services. General areas of responsibility include law enforcement, safety education, motorist services and terrorism prevention.