March 26, 2007 - Knoxville Mayor Bill
Haslam and Police Chief Sterling Owen today named Officer Chris
Jones and Officer Preston Whillock the February Officers for the
Month for the Knoxville Police Department. Officer Jones has been
with the department since November 2003. Officer Whillock graduated
from the academy in December 2006.
Chief Owen said at approximately 10:11 p.m. on February 17, 2007,
Officer Jones and Officer Whillock responded to a burglary call
at a residence on Sandusky Road. The officers' investigation revealed
that an unknown female had stopped at the residence earlier in the
day and had asked to use the victim's restroom. The victim allowed
the female to enter her residence. Once the suspect had left the
residence, the victim left to attend a wedding ceremony. When the
victim returned from the wedding she discovered that her home had
been burglarized. Several hundred dollars worth of jewelry had been
stolen from the residence.
completing the initial investigation at the scene of the burglary,
the officers began a neighborhood canvas. That canvas revealed that
the suspect had gone to several other homes in the area and had
attempted to use the same ruse in order to enter the homes. One
of the victim's neighbors was able to provide a possible name for
the suspect. That suspect, Laura Welch (DOB 09/03/72), had several
outstanding warrants and was wanted for questioning in several robberies,
burglaries, and thefts in both the city and county.
The officers obtained additional information that indicated the
suspect had been frequenting a home on Bradshaw Garden Drive to
purchase illegal narcotics. The officers were also able to identify
the type of vehicle the suspect was driving. While conducting surveillance
in the area of Bradshaw Garden Drive, the officers located the suspect
in her vehicle. A traffic stop was conducted and the suspect was
taken into custody.
Chief Owen said, "During the interview with the suspect, she
confessed her involvement in an aggravated burglary, several thefts,
and the fraudulent use of a credit card. She also provided information
on where she was trading the stolen items for drugs."
Based on the information obtained during the interview with the
suspect, Officers Jones and Whillock obtained a search warrant for
the Bradshaw Garden Drive residence. On February 21, the officers
executed the search warrant. As a result, three additional suspects
were arrested and charged with eight additional charges. The officers
also confiscated numerous items including 72 grams of cocaine, a
loaded AK-47 assault rifle, a loaded .38 caliber pistol, various
drug paraphernalia, surveillance equipment, numerous items of stolen
property, and over $7,000.00 in cash.
Chief Owen said, "Due to the outstanding investigation by Officer
Jones and Officer Whillock, the department was able to clear multiple
burglary cases that have occurred over the past month. Their dedication,
hard work, time, and outstanding effort while conducting this investigation
resulted in the closure of a drug house which had a negative impact
on the community."
Mayor Haslam said, "We appreciate the officers' commitment
to make our community as safe as possible for all our citizens."
The officers will receive a signed certificate from the Mayor and
Chief along with a free dinner from Bayou Bay Seafood House.