| April 30, 2009 - Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Police Chief Sterling Owen named Officer Bill Muhlfeld the 2008 Officer of the Year for the Knoxville Police Department. Officer Muhlfeld came to KPD in June 2006 after serving as the Director of the Hardee County, Florida Emergency Management Agency (EMA). Officer Muhlfeld’s technical knowledge from his EMA days has provided him with a unique advantage and standing as a new officer.
Chief Owen said that Officer Muhlfeld’s knowledge has become a valuable resource for the department. His skills were utilized in 2008 to train KPD Command Staff and Supervisors in Incident Command. He serves as a key member of the Search and Recovery Team and spends numerous hours assisting the team in every way. Much of that time is done on his own time and without seeking compensation for his efforts.
Chief Owen said, “Officer Muhlfeld is constantly and consistently having an impact in the community. In addition to his normal patrol duties in 2008, he captured a murder suspect from Knox County during a traffic stop. The murdered victim was still in the vehicle. He also captured three suspects during the commission of an armed robbery.”
“But what may be Officer Muhlfeld’s most significant contribution to the community occurred after the devastating shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in July,” said Chief Owen.
Immediately following the church shooting, the department’s Safety Education Unit received numerous inquiries from churches and other organizations regarding safety, crisis management, and emergency planning.
Chief Owen said, “While members of the Safety Education Unit have significant experience in crime prevention, crime prevention through environmental design, physical security of facilities, and personal safety, they have limited experience in emergency management. Officer Muhlfeld immediately officered his emergency management experience and expertise to the community.”
Officer Muhlfeld has spent countless hours working with churches and organizations to develop natural and man-made disaster response plans. He continues to work with several agencies on additional security and safety concerns and on how to adopt an emergency plan. Officer Muhlfeld expressed from the beginning that he did not want to create any manpower shortage or other hardships for his peers or supervisors by doing the added work. As such, a great deal of this work was performed while off duty so as not to adversely impact his patrol squad and beat partners.
Chief Owen said, “Officer Muhlfeld’s knowledge of police and fire procedures, hazardous materials response, architecture and building codes, fire codes, evacuation and shelter procedures, and his real-world experience in emergency management and incident command have made it possible for the Knoxville Police Department to offer the community some of the best information and recommendations available in the field of emergency response planning.”
“Officer Muhlfeld displays professionalism, confidence, and sincerity when presenting this information to citizens and he effectively communicates the material to those with little or no knowledge of emergency management concepts or terminology,” said Chief Owen.
Mayor Haslam said, “It is obvious that based on the knowledge, experience, dedication, selflessness, desire, work ethic, consistent outstanding performance, and character, that Officer Muhlfeld is an outstanding representative for the department as well as an invaluable asset to the citizens of the City of Knoxville.”