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Tennessee Highway Patrol Announce 2014 Trooper & Dispatcher of the Year, District of the Year

Thursday, February 26, 2015 | 08:39am

NASHVILLE --- Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Tracy Trott presented Trooper Michael Sullivan and Dispatcher Andrew Lawson with the 2014 Trooper and Dispatcher of the Year award, respectively, at a special ceremony held Wednesday evening in Murfreesboro. Also, the THP Fall Branch District was awarded the 2014 District of the Year.  

The University of Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones served as the keynote speaker. Coach Jones is the son of a long-time police chief and nephew to a Michigan State Police Commander.

The THP also recognized troopers and dispatchers in each of the agency’s districts across the state, as well as honored those in specialized units, specifically for investigations, interdiction and commercial vehicle enforcement (CVE). The top-10 troopers were also recognized for DUI and seat belt and child restraint device enforcement, while five troopers were honored for their work in stopping hazardous moving violators. 

“Our state troopers and dispatchers serve on the front line in helping to ensure public safety for all Tennesseans. They truly are the finest public servants and most deserving of recognition. I’m glad that we were able to honor their commitment to the safety and security of Tennessee,” Commissioner Gibbons said.

“The two honorees exemplify the very best of what it means to be a trooper and dispatcher,” Colonel Trott said. “Trooper Sullivan works tirelessly to reduce crime and keep our roadways safer, while Dispatcher Lawson’s professionalism, decisiveness and calm under pressure probably saved the life of a trooper on his shift. It was my privilege to recognize them as the gold standard in their professions in 2014,” he added.

Trooper Michael Sullivan, who represents the THP Jackson District, earned the 2014 Trooper of the Year honor. Trooper Sullivan led the 10-county district in DUI arrests with 128 and finished second in impaired driving arrests statewide. He consistently produces as a DUI task force member working the midnight shift in Henderson County, arresting 155 individuals, including 16 felony apprehensions. Trooper Sullivan also investigated 76 crashes and issued 1,117 citations for violations, while conducting 97 commercial motor vehicle inspections last year.  A 13-year veteran of the THP, Trooper Sullivan looks beyond the citation and accepts any duty or task assigned.

Dispatcher Andrew Lawson was named the 2014 Dispatcher of the Year after handling an incident involving Trooper Eric Miller on May 2, 2014 on Interstate 75. Trooper Miller had initiated a traffic stop at approximately 8:20 a.m. on that day. Moments later, Dispatcher Lawson noticed that the trooper was no longer communicating with dispatch, but sounded as if he was in a struggle. Dispatcher Lawson requested assistance from Loudon County 911 and maintained telephone contact, while coordinating with other troopers to respond to the scene. Soon after, Trooper Miller made contact and requested assistance, advising that the suspect fled the scene. During the struggle, shots were fired and the suspect attempted to run over Trooper Miller. Dispatcher Lawson determined Trooper Miller’s location in an attempt to make contact with the suspect vehicle. This event lasted for several hours, during which time, Dispatcher Lawson relayed information to other agencies and maintained constant contact with troopers on the scene. He remained calm throughout and presented himself as a seasoned professional.   

The THP Fall Branch District earned the 2014 District of the Year award and District Captain Stephen Street took home the colonel’s achievement award after reducing traffic fatalities in the region by 11.3 percent from the previous year. State troopers in the district also increased DUI arrests 29 percent and seat belt citations by 122 percent, compared to 2013. The Greene County Scales Complex also placed unsafe commercial vehicles out of service at a rate of 41 percent, while commercial vehicle drivers were placed out of service at an 11 percent rate. Both rates were above the national average.

2014 District Trooper of the Year (* denotes statewide Trooper of the Year)

1. Trooper Jerry Watson, Knoxville District

2. Trooper Stoney Morton, Chattanooga District

3. Trooper Alex Campbell, Nashville District

4. Trooper Michael Bolton, Memphis District

5. Trooper James Knipper, Fall Branch District

6. Trooper Michael Robertson, Cookeville District

7. Trooper Chad Staggs, Lawrenceburg District

8. Trooper Michael Sullivan, Jackson District*

9. Sergeant Michael Morgan, Administrative (Protective Services Division)

2014 District Dispatcher of the Year (*denotes statewide Dispatcher of the Year)

1. Dispatcher Andrew Lawson, Knoxville District*

2. Dispatcher Julia Morrison, Chattanooga District

3. Dispatcher Joshua Murphy, Nashville District

4. Dispatcher Susan Ballard, Memphis District

5. Dispatcher Doug Boone, Fall Branch District

6. Dispatcher Stacy Lawson, Cookeville District

7. Dispatcher Cynthia Krause, Lawrenceburg District

8. Dispatcher Jessie Overman, Jackson District

2014 Specialized Unit Award Recipients

1. Brad Simpson, Investigator of the Year (Identity Crimes Unit)

2. Jeremy Miller, Interdiction Trooper of the Year  

3. Trooper David McDonald, CVE Trooper of the Year

4. Trooper Jason Sherrod, Lifesaver Award  

2014 Top 10 Troopers honored for DUI Enforcement

1.  Stoney Morton, Chattanooga District – 163 arrests

2.  Michael Sullivan, Jackson District – 128 arrests

3.  Vince Mullins, Fall Branch District – 127 arrests

4.  Adam Cash, Jackson District – 125 arrests

5.  Chad Staggs, Lawrenceburg District – 110 arrests

6.  Tommy Lyles, Chattanooga District – 102 arrests

7.  William Satterfield, Knoxville District– 101 arrests

8.  Shane Roberts, Nashville District – 89 arrests

9.  Owen Grear, Memphis District - 88

10. Michael Bolton, Memphis District – 86 arrests

2014 Top 10 Troopers honored for Seat Belt & Child Restraint Device Enforcement

1.  Jerry Watson, Knoxville District – 2,114 citations

2.  William Head, Nashville District – 1,587 citations

3.  Billy Smith, Nashville District – 1,382 citations

4.  James Knipper, Fall Branch District– 1,090 citations

5.  Charles Groce, Cookeville District – 1,060 citations

6.  Stephen Barclay, Knoxville District–1,041 citations

7.  Terry Milholen, Jackson District – 1,031 citations

8.  Martin Herren, Cookeville District – 914 citations

9.  Charles Childers, Jackson District – 910 citations

10. Joe Agee, Nashville District – 877 citations

2014 Top Five Troopers honored for Hazardous Moving Violations

1.  Jerry Watson, Knoxville District – 1,571 citations

2.  Carll Duryea, Knoxville District – 1,537 citations

3.  Billy Jackson, Memphis District – 1,392 citations

4.  David Osborne, Fall Branch District – 1,032 citations

5.  Ronny Wright, Lawrenceburg District – 1,011 citations

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The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to serve, secure, and protect the people of Tennessee.

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