NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Each year on May 15, the nation sets aside time to commemorate the law enforcement officers who have “paid the ultimate sacrifice” as a part of National Peace Officers Memorial Day.
The names of those who have been killed in the line of duty are read at the front of the U.S. Capitol, with many of their family members and colleagues in attendance. This year, several Tennessee families traveled miles to Washington, D.C. to honor their loved ones.
Since the beginning of 2022, there have been 11 Tennessee law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty, with the Rutherford County community still grieving from the recent loss of Detective Jacob Beu earlier in May.
The families of Franklin Police Department Officer Jeff Carson, who passed away in March 2022, and Maury County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Brad Miller, who was killed in Dec. 2022, also visited the nation’s capital this week to honor their memories.
Their families etched both of their names onto the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, which is a 304-foot-long limestone wall at Judiciary Square, adjacent to the National Law Enforcement Museum.
In total, the names of 556 officers killed in the line of duty were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial this year, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Those names included 224 officers who were killed during 2022, and 332 who died in previous years.
The Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP), a non-profit organization that works with various law enforcement organizations to track line of duty deaths and honor those who have died, has recorded law enforcement deaths dating back to 1776.
There have been more than 26,000 officers killed in the line of duty in the United States since then. Below is a list of recent line of duty deaths in Tennessee and their stories.
Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office
Detective Jacob Beu
EOW: Sunday, May 7, 2023
Detective Jacob Beu was killed in a crash on Armstong Valley Road in Murfreesboro. The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office said deputies found Beu critically injured. He was brought to Ascension St. Thomas Rutherford, where he later died.
Beu was a United States Marine Corps veteran and served with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office for six years. He was promoted to patrol corporal in 2021 before being promoted to narcotics detective in 2022.
Beu also served as a member of the SWAT Team, with Beu and the rest of the team being honored as Officer of the Month in August 2021 for responding to the devastating floods in Waverly and Humphreys Counties.
In 2018, the sheriff’s office said Beu was honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for arresting numerous drunk drivers.
Memphis Police Department
Officer Geoffrey Redd
EOW: Saturday, February 18, 2023
Officer Geoffrey Redd was shot while responding to a suspicious person call at the Poplar-White Station Library in Memphis. His partner returned fire, killing the man who shot Redd.
Redd was taken to a hospital where he remained in critical condition until succumbing to his injuries about two weeks later. In an interview with Bishop Brandon Porter, Redd’s pastor, he remembered Redd as a “kind spirited person” who kept watch over the church.
Redd was a United States Marine Corps veteran and served with the Memphis Police Department for 15 years. He is survived by his wife, three daughters and grandchildren.
Officer Corille Cortez Jones
EOW: Thursday, January 20, 2022
Officer Corille “CJ” Jones was heading to a call when at about 2:30 a.m. he was involved in a three-car crash near the intersection of East Shelby Drive and Pleasant Hill Road in Memphis.
The Memphis Police Department said Jones was heading east on Shelby Drive when another car traveling north on Pleasant Hill struck him. Jones was rushed to Regional One Health, but later succumbed to his injuries.
The driver of the other car was also killed in the crash. Police said the third car involved in the crash was parked at a gas station and no one was occupying the vehicle.
Jones served with the Memphis Police Department for almost two years. He is survived by his two children.
Maury County Sheriff’s Office
Reserve Deputy Brad Miller
EOW: Monday, December 12, 2022
Deputy Brad Miller was on traffic detail at a construction zone on Highway 43 near Williamsport Pike when he was struck and killed by another car from behind.
At the time, three contract employees were working on the stretch of road in front of him.
In an interview with News 2, Maury County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Brad Collins said the workers told him that Miller saved their lives by preventing them from “getting crushed against the machine they were working on.” They also said Miller was able to call out to them to tell them to move.
Miller served with the Maury County Sheriff’s Office for 19 years, with more than 8,600 hours spent volunteering with the sheriff’s office years after retiring from his career at GM. In 2019 and 2022, Miller was honored with the Reserve Deputy of the Year Award.
He is survived by his wife, two children, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Tennessee Highway Patrol
Sergeant Harold Lee Russell, II
EOW: Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Sergeant Harold Lee Russell and Detective Matt Blansett of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department were killed in a helicopter crash at about 4 p.m. on Aetna Mountain in Marion County.
The Bell 206 helicopter hit a high-tension powerline and crashed into a wooded area on Aetna Mountain near Whiteside. According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Russell and Blansett were returning from pursuing a lead in a Marion County missing person case.
They had been working on marijuana eradication efforts earlier that day. As a helicopter pilot for the THP, Russell was involved in the manhunt for murderer Kirby Wallace in Stewart County, and the search for missing “Baby” Joe Clyde Daniels in Dickson County.
He served with the Tennessee Highway Patrol for 12 years and was assigned to the Special Optics Aviation Unit. He is survived by his wife, son, daughter, parents, brother and grandmother.
Master Trooper Vince Arnold Mullins
EOW: Friday, January 28, 2022
Master Trooper Vince Arnold Mullins died after contracting COVID-19 while serving at the Greene County Scales Complex in the Fall Branch District.
Mullins was a United States Army veteran who served with the Tennessee Highway Patrol for over 25 years.
In a Facebook post, Greene County Circuit Court Clerk Chris Shepard said Mullins was known for “his tenacity to keep the roads safe while putting drunk drivers in jail.”
He won the Trooper of the Year award in 2013 and 2016. Mullins is survived by his wife, six children, five grandchildren, parents and two sisters.
Marion County Sheriff’s Department
Detective Matthew Walker Blansett
EOW: Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Sergeant Harold Lee Russell of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and Detective Matt Blansett were killed in a helicopter crash at about 4 p.m. on Aetna Mountain in Marion County.
The Bell 206 helicopter hit a high-tension powerline and crashed into a wooded area on Aetna Mountain near Whiteside.
According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Russell and Blansett were returning from pursuing a lead in a Marion County missing person case. They had been working on marijuana eradication efforts earlier that day.
Blansett served with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office for 20 years. Blansett was also a county commissioner. As a Jasper resident, he served the District 2 area of Marion County. He is survived by his wife and two sons.
Franklin Police Department
Officer Jeffrey Herndon Carson
EOW: Saturday, March 26, 2022
Officer Jeff Herndon Carson suffered a fatal heart attack at the Williamson County Medical Center in Franklin. Carson was a well-known country music singer who had performed at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and toured the United States.
He began his music career by singing in church and later moving to Nashville, where he recorded demos for other country music artists such as Reba McEntire (The Heart is A Lonely Hunter) and Tim McGraw (I Wouldn’t Want It Any Other Way).
In 1995, Carson was discovered by producer Chuck Howard and began his recording contract Curb Records, releasing the single “Yeah Buddy” which was the country artist’s first song to make the charts. Carson had a total of 14 charted singles on the Billboard charts throughout his career.
Carson retired from music in 2009 to join the Franklin Police Department in Williamson County, where he served for 14 years. He is survived by his wife, son, mother, brother and sister, as well as aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.
Shelby County Sheriff’s Office
Corrections Deputy Bridgette Lachelle Hunter
EOW: Thursday, February 17, 2022
Corrections Deputy Bridgette Lachelle Hunter died from complications as the result of contracting COVID-19 while working at the Shelby County Jail in Memphis.
According to ODMP, beginning in 2020, corrections agencies suffered tremendous losses because of the constant and close proximity between corrections officers and large inmate populations.
Since March 2020, ODMP has verified that over 900 law enforcement officers have died as a result of exposure to COVID-19 while on duty. Hunter served with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office for over 30 years. She is survived by her two children.
Carroll County Sheriff’s Office
Captain Frank Keith Rezac, Jr.
EOW: Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Captain Frank Rezac died from complications as the result of contracting COVID-19 while serving at the Carroll County Jail in Huntingdon.
Since March 2020, ODMP has verified that over 900 law enforcement officers have died as a result of exposure to COVID-19 while on duty. Rezac served with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office for 10 years.
Before that, he served with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in California for 12 years. He is survived by his wife, two children and two grandchildren.
Loudon County Sheriff’s Office
Sergeant Chris Jenkins
EOW: Thursday, February 3, 2022
Sergeant Chris Jenkins was struck and killed by a semi-truck while removing debris from the road on Interstate 75 in Knoxville. A ladder had fallen off a utility truck and created a traffic hazard on the interstate, but the driver never stopped.
The driver of the utility truck was later identified and pled guilty to three counts of reckless endangerment in Sept. 2022. The driver of the semi-truck that reportedly struck Jenkins has also been indicted on several charges.
The charges include vehicular homicide by intoxication, vehicular homicide by recklessness, two counts of reckless endangerment, DUI, simple possession of narcotics, possession of a handgun under the influence, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
In March 2023, Gov. Bill Lee signed the “Sergeant Chris Jenkins Law,” which made it an offense for someone to operate a vehicle on a public roadway and carry an item in an open bed or trailer without it being properly secured.
Jenkins was a United States Air Force veteran and served with the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office for 20 years. During that time, he worked as a corrections officer and with the Loudon County’s K-9 unit. He was also vocal about protecting K-9 officers in the field.
Many of his family members have also served with the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office, including his son and his cousin, deputy Jason Scott, who was shot and killed in March 2004 when he was responding to a domestic disturbance call.
Jenkins is survived by his son, daughter, mom, fiancé, fiancé’s two daughters, sister, brother-in-law and two nephews.