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Department of Safety & Homeland Security, Tennessee Highway Patrol Announce Promotions

Thursday, June 06, 2013 | 05:07am

NASHVILLE--- Officials from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security and Tennessee Highway Patrol formally recognized 25 individuals for recent promotions in a special ceremony Wednesday afternoon at the agency’s Training Center in Nashville. Commissioner Bill Gibbons, Deputy Commissioner Larry Godwin and THP Colonel Tracy Trott were on-hand to congratulate the recipients.    

Robert Eckerman has been promoted to the rank of captain over the THP Special Operations and Aviation unit. Prior to his new appointment, Eckerman was the lieutenant supervising the agency’s Handgun Permit Program. He also served as an intelligence officer for the Criminal Investigations Division, as well as the midnight supervisor for the THP Nashville District (2003-08). Captain Eckerman also spent eight years (1995-2003) in the Special Operations Unit as a lieutenant. The Saginaw, Mich., native was also a sergeant in the Support Services Division and, for one year, worked in the Research and Planning Division. He began his career with the THP as a road trooper in Montgomery County from 1984 to 1989. Eckerman is a graduate of Albion College in Albion, Mich. 

Maurice Hobbs has been named lieutenant in the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s Special Operations Unit. Prior to his promotion, Hobbs served as a road sergeant of Troop C in Montgomery County.  A 29-year veteran of the THP, the Flint, Mich., native, started his career as a Road Trooper in Montgomery County. He was then assigned to Executive Protection Services for 14 months, followed by a nearly seven-year stint as sergeant in Special Operations. Hobbs also served as a sergeant in the United States Army from 1975 to 1983. He holds specialized skills in tactical operations, hazardous devices, water rescue and K-9 handler.

Roy Brown has earned the rank of lieutenant in the THP’s Identity Crimes Unit, after serving in the section for one year. Brown’s first assignment was as a road trooper in Shelby County in 2000. He also worked for the District 4 Interdiction Team and as Litter Control Trooper for the Memphis District, before serving on the road in Hardeman and Fayette Counties. In 2011, Brown was transferred to Nashville as the THP liaison to the Office of Homeland Security. He has completed training in advanced crash, DUI instruction, instructor development, interview and interrogation, criminal interdiction and drug investigations.  Brown is a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command.

Bobby Clevenger was named the Wrecker and Homeland Security Lieutenant in the Knoxville District. Prior to this post, he served as sergeant in Roane and Morgan Counties. Joining the THP in 1997, Clevenger has served in Rhea County twice (1997-2000, 2002-2006) and in Greene County. He also worked as Midnight Sergeant in the Knoxville District during his tenure. Clevenger is from Newport, Tenn.

Stacey Heatherly has been promoted to the Troop A Lieutenant in Knox and Union Counties in the Knoxville District. Since becoming a state trooper in 1998, Heatherly has worked in Wilson and Campbell Counties as a road trooper. She was promoted to sergeant in March 2007, where she worked for the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) unit in Nashville. In 2009, Heatherly was assigned as the first commissioned Public Information Officer for the agency, until 2010 when she served as Knox County Scales Sergeant. Heatherly is a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command. Her hometown is Jacksboro, Tenn. She is married to Trooper Michael Heatherly.

Bennie Jennings Jr. earned the rank of sergeant in the Inspectional Services Bureau (ISB). He previously served as a road trooper in Rutherford County. Jennings joined the agency in March of 1998 and was first assigned to Shelby County. During his tenure with the THP, he has worked in Special Operations, Special Programs’ Commercial Vehicle Enforcement New Entrant Program, and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Jennings was also a member of the THP’s Motor Squad from 2002-2008. Jennings, originally from Fayetteville, Tenn., received a bachelor’s in marketing from the University of North Alabama.

David Roark has been promoted to sergeant in the THP Chattanooga District. Roark, a 15-year veteran of the state’s Highway Patrol, will be stationed in Marion County.  His first assignment with the Tennessee Highway Patrol was patrolling the road in Cumberland County in 1998. Roark earned the distinction of being one of the first members of the Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) and served for approximately three years in the unit. He also worked as a Road Trooper for two years in White County, before transferred back to his original post in Cumberland County for five years. Roark has specialized training in radar instruction, crash reconstruction, post-crash inspection, and car seat technician. He owns a bachelor’s degree in science.

A member of the Tennessee Highway Patrol since 2004, Samuel Holcomb III has been promoted to sergeant in Maury County. He spent the first four years of his career in Loudon County. In 2008, Holcomb was assigned to the THP D.A.R.E. unit in the Knoxville District. He then transferred back to Loudon County in 2012, where he remained until his most recent promotion in April 2013. Holcomb is from Columbia, Tenn.

Scott Hines advances to the rank of sergeant of the Knox County Scales Complex, after serving on the roads in Morgan County in the Knoxville District. Hines began his career with the Tennessee Department of Safety as a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (CVE) Officer in 1997. During this assignment, he was selected as a member of the Alternative Commercial Enforcement Strategies (A.C.E.S.) unit, serving in that capacity for three years. Hines also had assignments in Anderson County, the Knox County Scales, and Monroe County. Hines’ accomplishments include being named the District 11 Trooper of the Year in 2006. The Lancing, Tenn., native is certified in advanced roadside impaired driving enforcement, advanced crash investigations, post-crash investigation, commercial driver license training, general hazardous materials and CVE Training, to name a few. Prior to joining the department, Hines served as Deputy Sheriff for the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department from 1987 to 1993.

Maurey E. Williams, who was commissioned as a Tennessee State Trooper in 2007, was recently promoted to sergeant in Robertson County. Williams’ first and only assignment has been as a road trooper in Robertson County. He has also served as a Field Training Officer for the last two trooper cadet classes. He is Level 1 certified to conduct hazardous materials inspections, and trained in radar and lidar instruction. Sergeant Williams is also a grade crossing collision investigator. He is originally from Harvey, Louisiana.

Kevin Brown has been promoted to sergeant in the Jackson District, serving Henry and Benton Counties. Brown joined the THP in 2004 and was initially assigned to Madison County. His responsibilities included serving as the district’s Litter Control Trooper, a member of the Dignitary Protection Detail and as a Field Training Officer. Brown, originally from Huntingdon, Tenn., has 20 years of law enforcement experience.

Jeffrey Appleba has been elevated to the rank of midnight sergeant in the 11-county Knoxville District. He first served at the Greene County Scales Complex, after graduating from the Department of Safety Commercial Vehicle Enforcement class in March 2003. Appleba graduated as the top cadet in CVE class 303 and was elected class president by his peers. In June 2007, he was assigned to Washington County as a road trooper. He then was transferred to the permanent midnight shift on Interstate 26 and the upper end of Interstate 81, covering Sullivan, Washington, Carter, Johnson and Unicoi Counties. His list of accomplishments include, ranking one of the top-10 DUI enforcers in the state in both 2011 and 2012. Appleba honorably served in the United States Air Force from 1993 to 2000. He hails from Johnson City, Tenn. 

Jonathan Street has received recognition for his work by being named sergeant in Carter and Johnson Counties in the Fall Branch District. He began his career as a Tennessee State Trooper in Sullivan County in 2007. Street served there until 2009, when he transferred to the Executive Protection Detail until May 2010. He then returned to Fall Branch and covered the midnight shift in Carter, Johnson, Washington and Unicoi Counties. Street earned the 2011 Trooper of the Year and DUI Officer of the Year honor, as well as the 2012 MADD 100 Hero award from the Governor’s Highway Safety Office in East Tennessee. He is trained as a DUI Instructor, a Field Training Officer and a Drug Recognition Expert. Originally from Elizabethon, Tenn., Street is an 11-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom II. He is a 2010 graduate of East Tennessee State University.

Entering his 11th year with the THP, Travis Raines has been promoted to the rank of sergeant over the Highway Patrol’s Support Services. Throughout his career, Raines has received training as a field training officer, drug recognition expert, standardized field sobriety test instructor, crash reconstructionist, radar/lidar specialist and a Level 1 commercial vehicle inspector. He also served on the District 5 Strike Team and Riot Team. Prior to his promotion, he worked the roads in Cocke County of the Fall Branch District. Raines started his career in Knox County after graduating trooper cadet school. He served in the Knoxville District for nearly 10 years before transferring to the Fall Branch District. Raines is a member of the United States Marine Corps Reserves for 16 years. In 2004, he completed a combat tour in Iraq for seven months, and was activated again in 2009 and served as a Training Chief for an Inspector-Instructor staff in Johnson City, Tenn.

John Grinder has been elevated to THP District 3 Midnight Sergeant.  A seven-year veteran of the THP, Grinder has worked in Sumner, Wilson and Robertson Counties. He most recently earned the 2012 Co-Trooper of the Year award for the Nashville District, and has been recognized as a top-10 DUI enforcer for the past three years. Sgt. Grinder has several specialized skills, specifically, crash reconstruction and drug recognition, and is Level 1, hazardous materials and post-crash certified. He also serves as a field training officer. Sgt. Grinder is from Gallatin, Tenn.

A former trooper in the THP Training Center, Christopher Dye has earned the rank of administrative sergeant in the Lawrenceburg District. Dye began his career with the state in 2001 in the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division.  He then graduated from the Trooper Cadet Academy in 2002, and was first assigned to Williamson County. Dye served in Williamson County until 2006, when he transferred to the agency’s Training Center. Sgt. Dye holds instructor certifications in DUI, Emergency Vehicle Operations, Pursuit Driving and Defensive Tactics. He has taught in six Cadet Schools and six annual In-Service Trainings. Dye began his law enforcement career as a correctional officer with the Maury County Sheriff’s Office and later worked as a road deputy for the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office. Dye also served in the United States Marine Corps (1995-99). 

David Mills has been promoted to sergeant over the Giles County Scales Complex. Originally from Bolivar, Tenn., Sgt. Mills is a 21-year veteran of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. He started his career at the Haywood County Scales in 1992. Mills then transferred to the commercial vehicle enforcement road crew, serving the Memphis and Jackson Districts. Prior to his promotion, Mills worked in the New Entrant Program, where he performed safety audits and compliance reviews on motor carriers. He is also a two-time winner (2011, 2012) of the national inspector’s competition. In 1997, Mills was named the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer of the Year for West Tennessee.     

Dennis Drumwright received a rank advancement to Midnight Sergeant in Shelby County of the THP Memphis District. He was previously assigned to the New Entrant Safety Audit in Special Programs. There, he worked as a liaison between the THP and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), performing safety audits and compliance reviews of trucking companies. Drumwright has also served as a member of the THP Interdiction Plus Team. He has worked as an instructor in the use of radar, ground fighting, defensive tactics, and has served as a field training officer. Drumwright, a native of Ripley, Tenn., is a 2001 graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command.

Eric McCormick has been promoted to sergeant over Smith and DeKalb Counties in the Cookeville District. Since graduating from the THP Cadet Academy in 1997, McCormick has served as a road trooper in Putnam County. During his tenure, he has been assigned to several special tasks, including the 2013 Presidential Inauguration and escort for the Tennessee Tech head football coach. McCormick is trained in riot control and crash reconstruction.  He is a 2005 graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command. A native of Dekalb County, McCormick began his law enforcement career as a deputy for the Dekalb County Sheriff’s Department.

Mark Musick, a 25-year veteran of the THP, earned the rank of sergeant in the agency’s Aviation Unit. Musick has served in aviation since 2010.  He was stationed in Sullivan County initially, but worked the majority of his career (20 yrs) in Carter County.  During which time, he obtained his private and commercial pilot license, as well as instrument, multi-engine and helicopter ratings. Musick is from Elizabethton, Tenn.

Jeff Reed earned the rank of sergeant for the Giles County Scales Complex in the Lawrenceburg District. Prior to his promotion, Reed was a trooper in the New Entrant Program. He performed safety audits and compliance reviews of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) regulated motor carriers. Reed has earned various certifications, including Level 1 inspections, bulk and non-bulk hazardous material carriers, motor coaches, foreign carriers and commercial vehicle post-crash investigations. He has also served as the instructor for THP District 7 commercial vehicle In-Service training. Reed is a native of Summertown, Tenn.

Allen England was recently promoted to sergeant in the THP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (CVE) division. He has been with the CVE administration unit in Nashville since July 2012. After graduating from the Cadet Academy in 2003, England was stationed with the Robertson County Scales Complex. He was transferred to a road position in Dekalb County in July 2004. England is currently a radar and Strategic Transportation Observation Prevention (STOP) instructor, and is certified in North American Standard part A and B, hazardous materials, level 6, cargo tanks and motor coach.      

Cynthia Krause earned the title of Communications Supervisor for the THP Lawrenceburg District’s Communication Center. Krause was recently named the 2012 Dispatcher of the Year for District 7, after for going above and beyond the call of duty to help a trooper in need. She has worked as a dispatcher for the state of Tennessee for just over five years. Prior to this post, Krause was a 911 dispatcher for Maury County for four years. In that capacity, she served as a police, fire and emergency responder. She also worked for Giles County 911 for two years in a part-time role.

Thelma Keisling was promoted to Administrative Services Assistant V of the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Administration Division.  The new Administration Assistant began her career with the Department in 2006 and was assigned to the Handgun Section. She worked at the THP Nashville District Headquarters for nearly four years and then transferred to the Support Services Division, where she worked until this promotion.  

Narendra Amin has been promoted to Statistical Analyst 3 in the department’s Research, Planning and Development (RP&D) section. Amin started with the agency in August 2010 as a Statistical Analyst 2. Prior to joining the department, he worked as Statistical Analyst 2 with the Commission on Children and Youth (2007-10) and the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Performance and Compliance (2004-07). Narendra holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from M.S. University, Baroda, India and a master’s of science in applied operations research from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.

Photos are available upon request.

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to ensure that our state is a safe, secure place in which to live, work and travel; enforce the law with integrity; and provide customer-focused services professionally and efficiently.

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