Knoxville Police veteran continues to work to build trust

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — For more than two decades, Knoxville Police Lieutenant Gordon Gwathney has been patrolling the streets on East Knoxville.

“So, I’ve been out here for twenty-four years,” says Gwathney.

However, instead of using his patrol car to monitor the streets, he prefers to do most of his patrolling on foot. 

“Hey, I’m not an office person. I don’t like sitting in the car unless I’m doing something,” he said.

Instead, “Officer G,” as he is more commonly known, feels that face to face contact goes a long way with those he has vowed to protect. 

“With community policing, you get to know the community and get to work with them and they learn to trust you,” he said.

If his story sounds familiar, that’s because we first introduced you to Officer G in August 2020 as part of our Behind the Badge series.

In the wake of recent shootings in the East Knoxville community, 6 News caught up with the lieutenant, for his reaction to the recent shooting deaths of four teens.

“It’s very personal to me,” Gwathney tells us. “It works on you because you know there were 20 or 30 people outside when stuff happened.” 

Therefore the hope, is that efforts to build trust in the community will lead to someone to speak up. 

“It’s getting better, some people you know, have a guilty conscience and say ‘I know something. I need to tell someone because this isn’t right’ and we see some of that now,” he adds, “They will learn to trust if you listen. That’s the key to communication with any group.” 

That’s why Officer G has and will continue to walk his beat as he looks to interact, build trust, and bridge gaps with a community he’s proud to be a part of.

“They’ve kind of adopted me here, and I’ve adopted them,” he said. “I feel like they are just another family member.”

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