Officer Dennis Hamm Receives 2013 Theodore Roosevelt Police Award
July 25, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Twenty-five year veteran officer Dennis Hamm’s inner strength to overcome a life-threatening failed liver and continue his law enforcement career and outreach to middle school students led to him being honored this afternoon with the 2013 Theodore Roosevelt Police Award for Nashville and Middle Tennessee. The award was bestowed during a luncheon ceremony at the Hermitage Precinct.
The Theodore Roosevelt Association Police Award is given to a police officer who has rendered outstanding and praiseworthy service to the department and the community despite a serious handicap, illness, or injury.
Saying he had a lifelong ambition for police work, Dennis Hamm entered the police academy in March 1988. After eight years as a patrol officer, Hamm joined the DARE unit and ultimately became the School Resource Officer at Croft Middle School, where, once again this school year, he will teach gang and drug resistance classes while ensuring the safety of Croft’s students and staff.
In 2008, Hamm began to experience muscle weakness and fatigue, which doctors diagnosed as Ocular Myasthenia Gravis. Strong doses of medication were prescribed to help him fight off the disease, but complications ensued. In 2009, medical tests showed that the medication had destroyed his liver, and Hamm was placed on the national registry of persons needing a liver transplant. As he waited for a donor, Hamm’s condition worsened. He was in and out of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and it was obvious to his police department colleagues through Hamm’s physical appearance alone that he was a very sick man. When he could come to work, Hamm was placed on light duty and assigned to the South Precinct’s reception desk.
In April 2010, a young man was tragically killed in a motorcycle crash. His organs would save the lives of five people, including Dennis Hamm. Hamm received a new liver on April 18, 2010. In less than a week, he was recovering at home. Six months later he was back at Croft Middle School, where he continues to assist in the “tough love” that is helping to turn kids’ lives around.
“For a quarter century, Dennis Hamm has used his policing skills to quietly go about the business of helping make Nashville a better and safer place,” Chief Steve Anderson said. “His story underscores the good that can happen when a person is determined to persevere and overcome extreme adversity.”
The Theodore Roosevelt Association established the police awards program in honor of Roosevelt’s distinguished service as President of the Board of Police Commissioners of New York City from 1895 to 1897, and in recognition of his lifelong admiration for the police.
Nashville is one of several cities in the United States to present the Roosevelt Award. Others include New York City, Buffalo and upstate New York, Boston, Long Island, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.
“The Metro Police Department is most grateful to the Theodore Roosevelt Association’s annual commitment to recognize truly outstanding public servants, like Dennis Hamm, and their contributions to our city,” Chief Anderson said.
Through the generosity of Rock Solid Roofing Company, this year’s award sponsor, and the Theodore Roosevelt Association, Hamm received a $1,000 cash award, a medal, and a bust of Theodore Roosevelt. A bronze plaque, which bears a likeness of Roosevelt, and which is currently on display in the lobby of police headquarters, now includes the inscription of Hamm’s name.
Past Metro Police recipients of the Theodore Roosevelt Award were Sgt. Phillip Sage (1998), Detective Clifford Mann (1999), Detective Frank Pierce (2000), Sergeant James (Jimbo) Allen (2001), Officer William Richardson (2002), Detective Joe Cooper (2003), Officer Horace Temple (2004), Officer Foster Hite (2005), Detective Jeff Ball (2006), Officer Dan Alford (2007), Sergeant Brenda Steinbrecher (2008), Officer James Duke (2009), Officer Faye Okert (2010), Lieutenant Joe McEwen (2011), and Officer Cindy Huffines (2012).
Information about the activities of the Theodore Roosevelt Association is available on the Internet, http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org