KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Two members of the Knoxville Police Department‘s new Community Engagement Response Team (CERT) were among those who received top honors at the department’s annual Employee Recognition Luncheon on May 15.
Officers Austin Jordan and Jonathan Gomez were named the 2022 Officers of the Year. They have each got a massive list of accomplishments, according to Knoxville Police.
Gomez is credited with investigations that led to 30 arrests, 20 illegal guns seized and indictments against 22 people connected with drug operations in 2022.
Knoxville Police added that Gomez develops positive relationships in the community. He speaks Spanish and is trained in forensics. He joined the department in 2015 after serving 11 years in the U.S. Army, where he continues to serve as a reserve.
“While being assigned to CERT, Officer Gomez went above and beyond his required duties to provide excellent service to the citizens of Knoxville. I believe the reach and scope of his efforts have affected those beyond our city limits as well,” stated Gomez’s nomination form.
As for Jordan, Knoxville Police said he did some investigating on his drive to work last year. He spotted a car connected with a murder and stopped the suspect who tried to run. The victim’s body was found inside the car.
“Officer Jordan has proven himself to be a leader amongst his peers who requires minimal supervision and can always be counted on to do the right thing. The combination of Officer Jordan’s positive attitude, proactive nature, commendable law enforcement knowledge base, and his desire to make a difference in his community, make him one of KPD’s top officers,” read his nomination form.
Jordan joined the department in 2018 and is currently assigned to the Organized Crime Unit.
The department also honored Sergeant Phil Major with the Mike Waggoner Leadership Award for his work “as a supervisor of the drug-related death task force and a mentor to generations of KPD officers,” according to Knoxville Police. Major has been with the Knoxville Police Department since 1993 and is currently the supervisor of the Drug-Related Death Taskforce.
Becky Kresia was honored as the Employee of the Year. She currently serves as the Executive Assistant to Chief of Police Paul Noel and has been with the department for more than 20 years. According to Knoxville Police, she earned this honor due to her dedication and commitment.
Finally, Andrew Beatty was selected as the 2022 Explorer of the Year for his outstanding dedication as the department’s most senior explorer. He routinely volunteers his time to the City of Knoxville. He was recently placed in a leadership position and Knoxville Police said he has excelled in that position.
“All five of these individuals embody what it means to be a Knoxville Police Department employee,” Noel said. “Whether through their proactive efforts to make our city safer, unyielding commitment to their daily tasks, or their years of leadership and dedication, these employees possess all of the qualities that we value as an organization. I thank each of these winners for how they represent our department and help us accomplish our mission every single day.”