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MNPD's Eric Hayes to Receive Theodore Roosevelt Police Award Thursday



Former East Precinct Officer Eric Hayes, whose active duty career was cut short by a devastating on-duty leg injury 3 years ago, but who nevertheless rejoined the MNPD in another role, is the recipient of the 2019 Theodore Roosevelt Police Award for Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Hayes will receive the honor during a noon ceremony tomorrow (Thursday) at the Hermitage Precinct.

The Theodore Roosevelt Association Police Award is given to a police officer who continues to render outstanding and praiseworthy service to the department and the community despite a serious handicap, illness, or injury.

On November 9, 2016, Officer Hayes, at the time a 9-year MNPD officer, was working to apprehend a criminal suspect who had fled on foot through an alleyway. Hayes gave chase and attempted to cut him off by jumping a fence. When Hayes landed, he shattered his tibia in multiple places, tore all but one ligament in his knee and dislocated his patella. Doctors at Vanderbilt told Hayes it was one of the most severe leg fractures they had seen. Adding to the pressure was the fact that he had just found out his wife was pregnant. Hayes spent several months in and out of the hospital, underwent 7 surgeries and had more than 100 visits to a physical therapist. Despite the medical care and rehabilitation, the devastating leg injury would not allow Hayes to continue his career as a police officer. Rather than continue to receive a disability pension, Hayes had another idea that would allow him to continue his service to the citizens of Nashville and the MNPD. He officially rejoined the department full time on August 1, 2019, as a civilian employee in the Special Events Unit of the Custom Services Division, where he schedules officers for the city’s many special events and assists in developing traffic and security plans for those events.

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. Other cities that have presented the award include New York City, Metropolitan Washington, D.C., San Diego, Dallas, and Suffolk & Nassau Counties in New York.

“While we all share Eric’s great disappointment in seeing his dream of being a career police officer suddenly end, I am delighted that he continues to serve Nashville and this police department with his special knowledge of law enforcement,” Chief Steve Anderson said. “His planning work is essential to the safety of Nashville’s families and our visitors.”

Through the generosity of the continuing award sponsor, Rock Solid Roofing Company, a Division of McEwen Home Improvements (, new sponsor Homes for Heroes & Vision Realty Partners, Inc., and the Theodore Roosevelt Association, Hayes will receive a $1,000 cash award, a medal, and a bust of Theodore Roosevelt. A bronze plaque, which bears a likeness of Roosevelt for display at the MNPD, will include the inscription of Hayes’ name.

Past MNPD recipients of the Theodore Roosevelt Police 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), Officer Cindy Huffines (2012), Officer Dennis Hamm (2013), Officer Bridget Griepentrog (2014), Officer John Downs (2016), Officer Terrance McBride (2017), and Officer Jeff Tharpe (2018).


Eric Hayes