KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Knoxville police officer B.K. Hardin is speaking about his role as an officer nearly a year after being attacked – and how guarding kids at their school may help strengthen relations in the community.
Hardin was just doing his job, helping football fans get home safely following the UT vs. Missouri game on a Saturday last November. Hardin was directing traffic at 17th and Clinch when he was randomly hit behind the head with what is believed to be a tire iron.
Nearly a year later, no one is in custody.
He experienced some sleeping issues early on, but was back at work in seven weeks. Fortunately, he hasn’t seen any other effects from the attack, no headaches or dizziness, but he did say said he knows it’s a possibility later on.
Finding the person who did it is on his mind daily, he doesn’t think he’s suffering from any post-traumatic stress. He even works ballgames, inside and outside the stadium, directing traffic.
Hardin became a school resource officer in January, a few months after the attack. But, he had requested the transfer before the violent incident.
He believes his attacker will eventually be caught. He feels a person bold enough to hit a police officer, in the midst of all those people, will break the law again.
He thinks that’s when their ego will kick in, and the person will end up bragging about what they did and be turned in by another inmate.
Ultimately, Hardin believes what happened to him is disdain for the badge, not for him personally.
He credits social media, and the spread of “false narratives” to be fueling the issues some take with law enforcement officers.
Officer Hardin hopes his new job at Vine Middle School allows him to change the dynamic between the community and law enforcement.
“My goal is to change the narrative. To look at this opportunity to take some of the stigma off the badge in the neighborhood to show that we do care,” he said.
He doesn’t just want to know who attacked him, but why.
“It would help me to understand how I need to feel because I’m big on motive. What caused you to do something. What made you feel like that was the choice you needed to make,” he said.
The reward, recently raised to $28,400, for information leading to the person’s capture is still available.