May 19, 2008 - Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Police Chief Sterling Owen named Officer Jason Booker the March Officer of the Month for the Knoxville Police Department. Officer Booker has been with KPD since August 1998.
Chief Owen said that on March 4, 2008 at approximately 10:30 p.m., Officer Booker was patrolling the area around Dallas Street and Catalpa Avenue due to a high number of drug complaints from citizens. Officer Booker saw a van parked at the intersection with three males sitting inside the van. As Officer Booker approached the van, the male driver exited the vehicle in an attempt to lead the officer away from the vehicle.
Chief Owen said, "Officer Booker was able to determine the three individuals had been drinking and that the front seat passenger had attempted to hide a Glock handgun inside a case of beer that was sitting on the floor in front of the passenger."
In addition to the handgun, 12 grams of marijuana and 5.5 grams of crack cocaine were recovered from the passenger side of the van. The passenger, Mackenzie Russell (DOB 06/30/86), admitted the weapon and the drugs belonged to him.
During a follow-up interview, Russell consented to a search of his room which yielded a cache of weapons, drugs, and drug paraphernalia that included:
4 Rifles (2 SKS, 1 AR, 1 Marlin lever action)
4 Pistols (1-.22, 1-.25, 1-9 mm, 1-.45)
Over 1,000 rounds of various ammunition
1-90 Round drum magazine for a .223
34 Magazines loaded and unloaded for both pistols and rifles
3 Sets of digital scales
2 Crack rocks (.4 grams)
3 Baggies of marijuana seeds
Russell, who was on judicial diversion for felony drug charges, was charged with:
Convicted Felon in Possession of a Firearm
Simple Possession of Schedule VI Narcotics
Possession of Schedule II Narcotic for Resale
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Chief Owen said, "Officer Booker put forth the extra effort to utilize his police skills of observation and investigation to recognize those who may be involved in illegal activities. By his actions, he was able to take off the streets several guns, a large amount of narcotics, and many rounds of ammunition that could have been used in the commission of other crimes."
Mayor Haslam said, "We commend Officer Booker for his work in removing these weapons and drugs from our community."
Officer Booker will receive a signed certificate from the mayor and chief.