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Four Recognized with May Officer of the Month Commendation  
Four Knoxville Police Department officers have been selected by the Commendations and Awards Committee to receive the May Officer of the Month Award, it was announced on Friday. 

Due to the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, the KPD chose not to host a public ceremony to present these commendations, instead opting for a private recognition of those selected to receive awards. 

Officers Todd Strickenberger

Organized Crime Unit Investigator Todd Strickenberger was picked to receive the May Officer of the Month Award for his efforts in several cases that led to the recovery of more than 20 firearms, which were likely intended to facilitate future criminal activity.
 
On May 13, Investigator Strickenberger and ATF personnel conducted a traffic stop on two vehicles on Magnolia Avenue in relation to an ongoing investigation initiated by Investigator Strickenberger concerning the straw purchase of firearms.
 
A K-9 unit responded to the scene to conduct a sniff around both vehicles, which alerted positive for the odor of narcotics. A search of both vehicles was conducted, which resulted in the recovery of over 15 grams of heroin, three grams of marijuana, 15 suspected MDMA pills and a firearm. The traffic stops also resulted in a search warrant application for an apartment, which yielded numerous suspected MDMA pills and two empty gun boxes.
 
As that investigation into straw purchases continued, several additional items related to the suspects were recovered, to include a safe, an additional 20 grams of heroin, and a shotgun. An additional search warrant was written for the safe that resulted in the recovery of another eight handguns, along with a bulk of ammunition and other drug paraphernalia.
 
In addition to that, on May 15, Investigator Strickenberger, additional members of the Organized Crime Unit and Violence Reduction Team, and ATF personnel performed surveillance on a suspect who was also believed to be conducting straw purchases of firearms and dealing firearms without a license. A traffic stop was conducted as a result of those surveillance efforts, where an immediate odor of narcotics was noted. A K-9 unit was called to the scene and alerted positive to the odor. A subsequent search of the vehicle recovered over three grams of marijuana and 12 firearms.

Officers Thomas Clinton and Geoffrey Murret and Investigator Timothy Riddle

Officers Thomas Clinton and Geoffrey Murret and Violent Crimes Unit Investigator Timothy Riddle were selected to receive the May Officer of the Month commendation for their collective efforts to identify, arrest and charge a serial rapist operating in downtown Knoxville. 

On May 7, Investigator Riddle was notified by Officer Clinton, the Homeless Outreach Coordinator, about the possibility of a serial rapist near the Central Business District. Officer Clinton indicated that numerous women had been reporting that they were the victim of sexual assault to staff members at Volunteer Ministry, though at that point no victims had come forward to report the assaults to him. After advising Investigator Riddle of the situation, Officers Clinton and Murret took the initiative to go from homeless camp to homeless camp in hopes of identifying victims. 

On May 11, Officers Clinton and Murret met with the first victim, who stated that she was the victim of a sexual assault committed by Aaron Gray. Officer Clinton documented that alleged sexual assault and proceeded with the investigation. 

On May 14, Investigator Riddle and Officers Clinton and Murret met at Volunteer Ministry to speak with two more victims of sexual assaults by Gray. Investigator Riddle obtained statements from the two victims and also learned of other possible victims and witnesses that needed to be contacted. Officer Clinton and Murret then volunteered to locate those individuals mentioned in the interviews. 

During the week of May 18, Officers Clinton and Murret continued to coordinate meetings with Investigator Riddle and other victims. A witness and three more victims of assaults by Gray were located and provided statements. 

Following two subsequent meetings with the DA’s office, where Officers Clinton and Murret and Investigator Riddle voiced their concerns about the increasingly violent assaults perpetuated by Gray, Investigator Riddle obtained warrants for the arrest of Gray. 

On Saturday, May 23, members of the Violence Reduction Team located and arrested Gray, who at the time was charged with nine different felony counts. As of May 29, Officers Clinton and Murret remained in contact with Investigator Riddle about the status of the criminal proceedings. They have also taken it upon themselves to transport or see that transportation is provided for each individual victim or witness. 
Posted by serland On 31 July, 2020 at 11:55 AM  

 
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