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KPD recognizes year of service to community with awards

The awards recognized officers, investigators, civilians and explorers for their leadership and service to the Knoxville community.
Credit: WBIR

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Though its yearly Recognition Luncheon was canceled due to COVID-19, the Knoxville Police Department still took time to honor the award winners on Friday, May 8.

Special Crimes Unit Investigator Phyllis Tonkin received KPD's 2019 Mike Waggoner Leadership Award. 

“Investigator Tonkin embodies the spirit of this award,” KPD Chief of Police Eve Thomas said. “She has an evident passion for serving and does so with a relentless devotion to her duty to protect those most vulnerable in our community. Her passion, dedication and unwavering enthusiasm is an inspiration to all those around her.”

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Special Crimes Unit Investigator Patty Tipton and West District Patrol Officer Ethan Grantham were selected as KPD’s 2019 Officers of the Year.

“We are thrilled to present these two very deserving individuals with the Officer of the Year Award for 2019,” Chief Thomas said. “Both Investigator Tipton and Officer Grantham consistently deliver the service we strive to provide on a daily basis. High-level police work requires strength of character, unflappable resolve, empathy and dedication to community, which are all qualities that these two officers possess in spades. It is an honor and privilege to recognize their efforts.”

Arim Ismail was named KPD's 2019 Explorer of the Year. Ismail was presented the award for her unselfish dedication, dependability and significant accumulation of volunteer hours, according to the department.

“She sets a good example for the other explorers, is punctual in her duties, is respectful and disciplined, and has never been counseled,” Officer Chris Hutton said. “Explorer Ismail pushes those around her to be better and holds them accountable when needed. Arim is aspiring to become a Police Cadet, and will make an excellent addition to our department.”

On May 4, Ismail began her journey to become a Police Cadet by starting the Cadet Academy, according to the department.

Captain Susan Coker and Officer Lori Banks have been recognized as the KPD's 2019 Community Service Award recipients.

“Community service is the essence of policing, and Captain Coker and Officer Banks exemplify what it means to truly serve a community,” Chief Thomas said. “Captain Coker’s dedication to the Crisis Intervention Team and Officer Banks’ impact at Safety City also puts on full display the very different yet meaningful ways community service can be rendered. Though they do not seek recognition, we are honored to present this well-deserved honor to these two outstanding officers.”

The three-man maintenance team of Jody Dykes, Benjamin Peterson and Caleb Sheville have been selected as KPD’s 2019 Civilian Employees of the Year recipients.

“Jody, Ben and Caleb are exceptional employees whose tireless efforts and quiet dedication make the Knoxville Police Department a better place to work,” Chief Thomas said. “Their daily contributions, selfless service and endearing spirit make them model employees and deserving recipients of this recognition.”