Skip to Content

Chief John Drake Honors the MNPD's 2020 Employees of the Year

2/26/2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chief John Drake today honored the MNPD’s 2020 Employees of the Year, whose outstanding work literally saved lives, held criminal suspects accountable, and made Nashville a safer place.

“Our 15 employees of the year embody the dedication, selfless action and empathy reflected in the MNPD’s officers and detectives throughout the city, as well as our professional support staff,” Chief Drake said. “I am exceptionally proud of them all.”

MNPD Personnel of The Year
MNPD Personnel of The Year

The 2020 honorees are:

Community Services Bureau Patrol Officers of the Year for 2020

Officers Tylor Luellen, Brenna Hosey, James Wells, Amanda Topping & Michael Sipos, Central Precinct (Co-Winners)

On Christmas morning, Officers Luellen, Hosey, Wells, Topping and Sipos were just over an hour away from the end of their overnight shift when Luellen responded to a call of gunfire on 2nd Avenue North. It was strange to receive such a call at that location, much less on Christmas morning.

They encountered a motorhome parked on the side of the street adjacent to a large building that houses an AT&T data center. Announcements, seemingly computer generated, began emanating from a speaker system on the RV. The information/instructions were ominous. There is a bomb in the RV. “Evacuate Now!” The officers quickly went door to door to evacuate residents as well as seal off surrounding streets. Ultimately, the speaker inside the RV shifted to a countdown. A powerful bomb detonated at 6:30 a.m. on Christmas morning, leaving massive devastation on 2nd Avenue North. Some of the officers were knocked to the ground by the blast.

Miraculously, due to the quick and calm thinking of these officers to get families to safety, no one perished in the explosion other than the bomb maker.

Patrol Officers of The Year
Patrol Officers of The Year

Community Services Bureau Patrol Officers of the Year for 2020

Officers Philip Claibourne, William Hamblen, James Hill, Gabriel Vasquez & Alexander Hartle, Central Precinct (Co-Winners)

On May 17, 2020, husband and wife Kevin and Leanne Craft were the victims of a sudden unprovoked and random machete attack as they waited as customers inside the office of Public Storage at 800 5th Avenue South. The victims were very critically injured and badly bleeding. Officer Claibourne was on the scene quickly and immediately took the attacker into custody. Officer Hamblen worked to secure the scene while Officers Hill, Vasquez and Hartle rushed to administer emergency medical aid to the victims by applying multiple tourniquets and bandages. The quick action, teamwork and training of these 5 officers helped stabilize the two victims and saved their lives.

Patrol Officers of The Year
Patrol Officers of The Year

Community Services Bureau Police Officer of the Year for 2020

Officer Ky Luu, East Precinct

As an East Precinct Officer, Ky Luu dedicated himself to the Cayce Place community where he served. His actions, from assisting a 70-year-old woman with funding to repair her car, which was damaged in a shooting, to the arrest of a convicted felon in possession of a handgun, truly helped improve the quality of life for residents.

Police Officer of The Year
Police Officer of The Year

Community Services Bureau Precinct Investigator of the Year for 2020

Detective Charles Duke, North Precinct

Investigation by Detective Duke led to the identification of Thurman Bell as the suspect in the fatal stabbing of Herbert Chatman on 17th Avenue North. During a review of surveillance footage from the area, Duke observed an Uber sticker and broken headlight on the suspect vehicle. While investigating an unrelated case, Duke spotted the same car driving by and followed it to Thurman Bell’s residence. While Bell matched the suspect description, a witness was unable to positively identify him. Bell also denied any involvement in the murder. However, based on the totality of Detective Duke’s investigation, which included cell tower data and DNA evidence, a first-degree murder indictment was issued by the grand jury.

CSB Investigator of the Year
CSB Investigator of The Year

Investigative Services Bureau Investigator of the Year for 2020

Detective Robert Ruiz, Specialized Investigations Division

In 2016, Gang Unit Detective Robert Ruiz was assigned to investigate a series of six shootings that occurred within one week which were connected to each other through ballistic science. The investigation revealed that these cases were all linked to a core group of members associated with the “New Breed” gang. Over the course of nearly three years, Detective Ruiz with assistance from the ATF worked with law enforcement jurisdictions stretching between Kansas, Texas and Chicago to track the members of this gang, who were involved in multi-state drug trafficking. As a result, more than 40 arrests have been made through state charges in Tennessee, Texas and Kansas. Seven persons have been charged federally. Numerous amounts of drugs and guns were seized.

ISB Investigator of The Year
ISB Investigator of The Year

Support Services Bureau Special Operations Officer of the Year for 2020

Officer Zach Waters, Traffic Unit

Months of investigation by Officer Waters into the Thanksgiving Night 2019 violent collision between a pickup truck and a car that killed 2 TSU students on Nolensville Pike just north of Harding Place led to the identification and arrest of the pickup truck driver David Torres on vehicular homicide charges.

Torres, who also owned the vehicle, fled the scene on foot. He came forward three days later, but refused to answer any questions. Officer Waters worked with the MNPD Crime to use DNA from the airbag in the truck to positively identify Torres as the driver. He remains jailed on the multi-count indictment.

SSB Officer of The Year
SSB Officer of The Year

Professional Support Employee of the Year for 2020

Ms. Tammy Millwood, Human Resources Support Specialist

While Ms. Millwood has only been with MNPD since 2019, she has quickly impressed her co-workers and supervisors with her positive attitude and work ethic. Her personality consistently brightens the day of those she encounters as she assists with background checks and interviews essential to the operation of the Human Resources Office.

Professional Support Employee of The Year
Professional Support Employee of The Year

###