KPD Recognizes Six at 2023 Employee Luncheon

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
[email protected]
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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KPD Recognizes Six at 2023 Employee Luncheon

Posted: 04/18/2024
The Knoxville Police Department recognized five employees and one volunteer for exceptional service to the Knoxville community during its annual Employee Recognition Luncheon on Thursday, April 18, 2024. 
Officer Colby Chandler and Officer John Martin were honored as the 2023 Officer of the Year recipients, while Crime Analysis Supervisor Christine Mullan and Violent Crimes Unit Victim Advocate Brandi Carson were named as the 2023 Employee of the Year honorees.
Veteran Sergeant Rodney Patton was named as the 2023 recipient of the distinguished Mike Waggoner Leadership Award.
Additionally, JP Light was selected as the 2023 Explorer of the Year.
The six honorees were voted on by the KPD Awards and Commendations Committee, a nine-person body representing a wide cross-section of the department.  
“The individuals who were awarded today are shining examples of the best of our department,” Chief of Police Paul Noel said. “Each of them is passionately dedicated to their assignment and helping us however they can to accomplish our fundamental mission as an organization of making Knoxville safer. This recognition is a reflection of the quality of their daily work and the way they represent our agency.”

Mayor Kincannon, Officer Chandler, Chief NoelColby Chandler – Officer of the Year
Chandler has been with the Knoxville Police Department since 2015.
Chandler was nominated to receive 2023 Officer of the Year recognition for both the volume and quality of his efforts to provide invaluable investigative support and address violent crime as a member of the Community Engagement Response Team (CERT).
Chandler’s contributions throughout 2023 were many. Most notably, Chandler proactively gathers intelligence that assists in both the identification and capture of known and wanted violent offenders. Chandler also facilitates information sharing between Organized Crime Unit detectives, Violent Crimes Unit detectives and members of CERT.
One notable example of Chandler’s dedication happened in December 2023. Though he was off-duty that day, Chandler helped a neighboring agency track down information concerning a murder suspect.
In addition to his active role on CERT, Chandler is also a member of two separate special teams: the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team and the Honor Guard. Chandler goes above and beyond in both of those roles, as well, including by volunteering his time and energy to set up churches before funeral services where the Honor Guard is utilized.  
In his nomination form, it was said that “Officer Chandler is vital to the Community Engagement Response Team and the Knoxville Police Department. Officer Chandler is committed to improving the CERT unit by assisting his fellow officers with their investigations, helping train them to utilize the tools he uses, and taking on tasks anytime supervisors give him an assignment.”
It further stated that “Officer Chandler went above and beyond his required duties to provide excellent service to the citizens of Knoxville. Over the year, Officer Chandler initiated several arrests where guns, drugs, and violent criminals were taken into custody.”

Mayor Kincannon, Officer Martin, Chief NoelJohn Martin – Officer of the Year
Martin has been with the Knoxville Police Department since 2007.
He was nominated to receive 2023 Officer of the Year honors for his wide-ranging efforts as the School Resource Officer assigned to Austin-East High School.
The nomination noted that Martin has dedicated a significant amount of off-duty and personal time to “ensure that the Department has the most current picture of potential conflicts and emerging trends in our schools.”
Of particular note, Martin was commended by a Knox County Sheriff’s Office detective who was investigating a social media threat that included three schools in Knox County. That KCSO detective said of Martin that “his assistance proved paramount to the investigation.”
He further stated, “Because of the help (Martin) provided, I was able to identify, locate, interview and receive a confession from the suspect within just a few hours of the initial threat.”
Martin was also commended for his above-and-beyond work to improve the KPD’s ability to properly address and mitigate incidents involving juvenile offenders and victims alike.
In his nomination submission, it was said that “John’s contributions to the community, but more importantly to the safety and security of Knox County students, cannot be understated. John has a servant’s heart, which is reflected in everything he does.”

Mayor Kincannon, Sgt Patton, Chief NoelRodney Patton – Mike Waggoner Leadership Award
Veteran Sergeant Rodney Patton was picked to receive the prestigious Mike Waggoner Leadership Award, which is presented annually to an officer who exhibits strong passion, dedication and thoroughness while inspiring those around them to do the same. Recipients of the award embody all of the characteristics that the Knoxville Police Department wants to instill in future generations of officers.
Patton has been with the KPD since 1986 and currently serves as the Sergeant over the Violent Crime Unit. He previously served an extended stint as the Sergeant over the Homicide Unit. Prior to those assignments, Patton served as a patrol officer, motorcycle officer, patrol sergeant and the records management sergeant. He also previously served on the KPD’s Special Operations Squad.
Sgt. Patton is a previous recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal for actions that were widely hailed as heroic to help pull an unconscious man out of a burning apartment in the Austin Homes community in July of 2019.
More recently, with the assistance of Organized Crime Unit detective Brandon Stryker and retired FBI Special Agent Paul Hughes, Sgt. Patton led the investigation that resulted in the closure of the 1989 unsolved murder of off-duty KPD officer Tony Williams.
In his nomination for award consideration, it was said that “Sergeant Patton has had a long and distinguished career with KPD. He has countless examples of positive community service, heroic acts and has been an outstanding example of leadership to KPD. An award such as the Mike Waggoner Leadership Award should not be taken lightly when recommending a candidate for this legacy. I have worked with both Officer Mike Waggoner and Sergeant Rodney Patton. In my humble opinion, both of these fine officers demonstrate examples of leadership that officers should look to for decades to come.”

Mayor Kincannon, Brandi Carson, Chief NoelBrandi Carson – Employee of the Year
Brandi Carson was one of two professional staff members selected to receive 2023 Employee of the Year recognition.
Carson, who has been with the KPD since 2003, was chosen to receive the award due to her consistent and multi-faceted work as the victim advocate for the Homicide and Violent Crime Units.
Carson’s primary role is to serve as the central point of contact for the family of homicide victims. In that capacity, Carson maintains regular contact with over 100 family members, providing a compassionate ear, guidance through the legal system, and a connection to available resources.
In addition to that task, in 2023, Carson took the lead on launching the Knoxville Police Department’s first-ever Next of Kin program. Through the Next of Kin program, the KPD hosts quarterly meetings for the families of homicide victims to learn about community resources, grieve together and speak one-on-one with the lead detective assigned to their loved ones case.
Carson also maintains record of the KPD’s unsolved homicides, overseeing the management of the public-facing Unsolved Murder webpage. She took that a step further in 2023, working with Organized Crime Lieutenant Josh Shaffer to create a deck of playing cards featuring 52 unsolved homicide victims. Carson facilitated the distribution of those cards at detention facilities across the state in an effort to get tips that could aid in the closure or prosecution of those cases.  
In her nomination, it was said that “it is difficult to verbalize the contributions Brandi brings to our unit. She cares for our victims, exhibiting patience and compassion to those traumatized by crime; she bridges the gap between our detectives and families, allowing our detectives to focus on investigative methods to bring justice to our citizens; and she provides a sounding board, an empathetic ear, to us, the detectives in this unit, whenever and wherever we need her.”

Mayor Kincannon, Christine Mullan, Chief NoelChristine Mullan – Employee of the Year
Christine Mullan has been with the Knoxville Police Department since 2006.
She was selected to receive the 2023 Employee of the Year award for the breadth of her work as the supervisor over the Crime Analysis Unit.
Mullan and the entire Crime Analysis Unit has been heavily involved in several noteworthy initiatives. In particular, Mullan has played an instrumental role in KPD’s participation in the Department of Justice’s National Public Safety Partnership (PSP), collecting data and preparing presentations ahead of the bi-weekly PSP meetings.
Mullan is also playing a key role in the ongoing development of violence reduction and mitigation strategies. She has taken several trips to outside law enforcement agencies, including Oakland and Baltimore, to observe their Compstat and shooting review meetings in order to guide strategies that can be implemented in Knoxville.
Mullan has also been instrumental in the ongoing implementation of the Real-Time Information Center, assisting in the process of researching and developing the best practices.
In her nomination, it was said that Mullan “is a wealth of knowledge for repeat offenders, stays up on the current crime trends and shares her knowledge and experience with the unit on a daily basis. Christine continues to be the leading example of a KPD employee and Crime Analyst.”
It further stated that “Under Chief Noel’s command and understanding of the importance of data in daily law enforcement, Christine has shown herself to be a valued voice, matter expert, and contributor to the future of the Knoxville Police Department.”

Mayor Kincannon, JP Light, Chief NoelJP Light – Explorer of the Year
JP Light was picked as the 2023 Explorer of the Year.
Light joined the volunteer Explorer Post in August of 2022 and was selected as his class leader by his peers. In the fall of 2023, Light also stepped into a larger leadership role, taking over the responsibility of directing seven other Explorers and disseminating information from advisors to the rest of the Explorer Post.
Explorer Light, a senior at Hardin Valley High School, was also recognized as the 2023 Scout of the Year by the Great Smoky Mountain Boy Scout Council for his achievement in scouting.
In his nomination, it was said that “Light does an outstanding job of representing the Knoxville Police Department and we are glad to have him in our Post.”