Fallen Tennessee State Troopers Honored At Memorial Service

Friday, May 16, 2014

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam Friday delivered the keynote address at the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s annual memorial service to honor state troopers and other law enforcement officer’s killed in the line of duty. The ceremony, held in conjunction with National Police Week, took place at the Department of Safety and Homeland Security headquarters in Nashville. 

Commissioner Bill Gibbons, Colonel Tracy Trott and family members of fallen troopers were also on hand for the ceremony.  

Forty-one troopers have died in the line of duty since the establishment of the state’s Highway Patrol in 1929. Sergeant Charles Hash was the first recorded Tennessee Highway Patrol fatality on April 11, 1930, succumbing to injuries sustained on motorcycle patrol in Shelby County. 

“We remember today the cost that 41 troopers paid to make us feel safe on our highways, at our homes, in our schools and around our communities," said Governor Haslam. "They recognized the risks of their job and still performed each duty with selfless acts of courage and pride.” 

During the ceremony, Governor Haslam, Commissioner Gibbons and Colonel Trott rested three wreaths in front of the Memorial Monument outside the department’s headquarters to honor the fallen troopers.

The THP has suffered the loss of a state trooper in each of the last three years. Trooper Andy Wall was killed after a motorcycle accident in Rutherford County on May 7, 2011 and Trooper Ronnie Hale died of heart attack while on-duty in White County on July 6, 2012.  Trooper Michael Slagle was the most recent on-duty fatality, passing away of natural causes on January 25, 2013 in Knox County. 

"The worst news to receive is that of the death of a trooper," said Colonel Trott. "Unfortunately, I’ve had to take that call five times as the colonel and I hope to never receive another one in my career.  The sacrifice that these troopers made is not lost on me or on any of the former and current troopers here today. There are no words to say to fill the void in our hearts, except ‘Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.’”

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 49 officers have been killed in the United States in 2014. Metro-Nashville Officer Michael Petrina was struck and killed by a vehicle while responding to an automobile crash on May 10, 2014. Officer Petrina was the second law enforcement fatality from the state of Tennessee in 2014. Montgomery County Deputy Sheriff David Johnson was also killed this year.  

“The lives of 49 families have been forever changed already this year with the death of a law enforcement officer,” Commissioner Gibbons said.  “They are the heroes that walked among us and they are the loved ones who have gone too soon. We honor their memory and lift up their families in our thoughts today, too.”

The ceremony featured the roll call of fallen officers, a 21-gun salute and a flyover by THP’s Special Operations-Aviation Unit.  Charley Talley, the daughter of Major Danny Talley, performed the National Anthem, while “Taps” was played by Trooper James Knipper of the agency’s Fall Branch District. Todd Boswell honored the fallen by playing “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.

Visit the THP Memorial page at http://tn.gov/safety/thpmemorial/memorialmain.shtml to view all of the Tennessee Highway Patrolmen who have died in the line of duty and off-duty through the years.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Announces Second Trooper Cadet Lateral Class

The Tennessee Highway Patrol will soon be accepting applications for the second lateral trooper class.  Men and women interested in a career as a state trooper can begin the application process online at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, March 8 through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, March 21.     Preferred qualifications for the lateral class will be Peace Officers Standards and ... (click for more)

Omega Phi Alpha To Host Pajama Run For Project 541

The national service sorority Omega Phi Alpha, Sigma Chapter at UTC, will host a 5k Pajama Run on Saturday, April 8, at 9 a.m. This event will be held on UTC's campus to help fund-raise and promote awareness for Project 541.  Project 541 is a nonprofit organization committed to supporting and empowering girls and young women in an impoverished region of Honduras. It ... (click for more)

St. Elmo Woman, 45, Dies At County Workhouse On Wednesday Night; Investigation Underway

An inmate died at the county workhouse at Silverdale on Wednesday night, and an investigation is underway.   She was identified as  Dana Shunice Palmer, 45, of St. Elmo.   Ms. Palmer was booked into the Hamilton County Jail from the Chattanooga Police Department on Feb. 14 on a public Intoxication charge. She was transferred from the jail to CoreCivic ... (click for more)

Shannon Whitfield Raising Rates At Money-Losing Walker County Landfill; Moratorium Placed On Fracking, Deep Well Drilling, Tiny Homes

New Walker County Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield is raising rates at the money-losing Walker County Landfill. The higher charges go into effect on March 1. Mr. Whitfield, during his campaign, said the landfill had been losing about $500,000 per year for many years. He said other area landfills were making a profit, but Walker County was having to subsidize its landfill. ... (click for more)

CVB Should Share Financials With The Home Folks

The recent debate over the Convention and Visitor's Bureau's funding and budget has gotten ugly. A Hamilton County commissioner has asked questions and made comments about the CVB. The director of the CVB has organized a campaign to dismiss the commissioner's questions and comments. The children on the playground are choosing sides and nothing useful seems to be happening. It's ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Ed Chief ‘Embarrassed’

At the start of the school year in September, Tennessee’s Commissioner of Education Dr. Candice McQueen held an “educational summit” with state legislators from embattled Hamilton County. The entire “summit” took a prescribed 90 minutes and was such a dog-and-pony show her strongest statement was, "Create your plan around the right vision, have some metrics and align to the right ... (click for more)