June Officers of the Month

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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June Officers of the Month

Posted: 07/13/2005
Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Police Chief Sterling Owen today named Lieutenant Donna Clift and Officer James Cox as the . Lt. Clift has been with the department since 1979 and is being honored for the apprehension of an armed robbery suspect. Officer Cox has been an officer for the department since 2002 and is being honored for the arrest of two burglary suspects.

Chief Owen said on June 7, 2005 at approximately 3:15 p.m., Lt. Clift responded to an armed robbery call at John Berry, which is located at 4821 Kingston Pike. As Lt. Clift was responding, dispatch alerted officers to the description of the suspect along with a description of the suspect's vehicle.

As Lt. Clift was nearing the scene, she observed a vehicle in the intersection of Tobler and Sutherland Avenue that matched the description of the suspect's vehicle. The passenger in the red and white pick-up also matched the description of the robbery suspect.

Lt. Clift conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and removed both occupants from the truck where she patted them down for weapons. Lt. Clift then observed a semi-automatic handgun in the seat near the passenger. Both suspects were taken into custody without incident. The victims positively identified the passenger in the truck, Tony Epps, as the suspect who had robbed them at gunpoint. Epps was charged with one count of Aggravated Robbery.

On June 28, 2005 at approximately 11:15 p.m., Officer James Cox was dispatched to a burglary in progress call at the Heely-Brown Company located at 2714 North Central Street. Witnesses indicated they had observed two suspects enter the fenced in area of the business and load roofing shingles into their pickup truck. The suspects had returned for another load.

Officer Cox approached the business cautiously so he would not alert the suspects to his arrival. While observing the suspects load additional shingles onto their truck, Officer Cox was able to inform other responding officers where to position themselves in order to contain the suspects. Once the officers were in position, the suspects were approached and taken into custody without incident. Thomas Barger (DOB 6-25-71) and Buddy Lingenfelter (DOB 9-17-63) were charged with burglary. Barger was on probation for robbery.

Chief Owen said, "Lt. Clift and Officer Cox both used good tactics and procedures which resulted in the quick apprehension of these three suspects. Due to these officers' impressive response, three potentially dangerous criminals are now off the streets."

Mayor Haslam said, "These officers demonstrated their commitment to their fellow officers and to the citizens in which they serve. We commend them on a job well done."

Both officers will receive a signed certificate from the Mayor and Chief along with a free dinner from Bayou Bay Restaurant.