2, 2007 - Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Chief Sterling
Owen today named Officer Benny Mitchell the August Officer of the
Month for the Knoxville Police Department. Officer Mitchell has
been with KPD since April 1989.
Chief Owen said that on August 30, 2007, at approximately 4:11 p.m.,
Officer Mitchell was investigating a vehicle crash in the West District
when E-911 dispatchers notified the district sergeant that they
had received a call indicating Charles Thomas, a suspect wanted
in connection with a murder, was at Barnes and Noble on Kingston
Pike. Due to a high volume of calls for service, every officer was
working on an investigation. Dispatchers then indicated the suspect
was turning onto Kingston Pike and provided a partial license tag
Officer Mitchell monitored the radio and began searching for the
suspect vehicle. After several minutes of searching, Officer Mitchell
located a vehicle matching the description of the suspect's vehicle,
but the tag number did not match.
Chief Owen said, "Even though the tag number did not match,
Officer Mitchell continued to monitor the vehicle until it made
an abrupt turn into a parking lot. Officer Mitchell then approached
the suspect who gave a false name, which prompted Officer Mitchell
to request additional descriptors and information on the suspect."
During this time additional officers arrived on the scene that were
able to confirm that the suspect was Charles Thomas who was wanted
for the December 12, 2006 shooting of Richard Cozart. Thomas was
taken into custody without incident.
Chief Owen said, "Officer Mitchell's quick reaction and investigative
skills resulted in Thomas being taken off the streets after being
on the run for nearly nine months."
Mayor Haslam said, "We congratulate Officer Mitchell for a
job well done."
Officer Mitchell will receive a signed certificate from the mayor