The University of Tennessee Police Department held a special award ceremony last week honoring some of its best officers. For the first time in UTPD’s history, officers nominated by fellow staff members received honors such as supervisor of the year, officer of the year, non-commissioned staff member of the year and the community service award. The awards were presented by Chief Gloria Graham.
“It was an honor to recognize these individuals,” Graham said. “Their commitment to service and safety to the UT community is exemplary.”
UTPD’s supervisor of the year is Lt. Emily Simerly, the newly appointed public information officer for UTPD. Simerly, a 1994 UT alum and 16-year member of UTPD, has served as a patrol officer, detective and lieutenant of the Community Relations Unit.
During her time at UTPD, Simerly also has served as the victim witness coordinator, the Tennessee and Region 6 director of Rape Aggression Defense Systems (a self-defense program for women), a member of the Board of Directors for Safe Haven (formerly Knoxville Sexual Assault Crisis Center), and on various other committees.
The officer of the year is Cpl. Ron Humble, a second shift patrol corporal and a member of UTPD since 2005. He is also a member of the training committee, a bike patrol officer and a field training officer.
The non-commissioned staff member of the year is Dennis Danichuck, a UTPD community service officer since 1990. Danichuck is also the supervisor over the community service officer ticket division.
The community service award went to Cpl. Leshuan Oliver, a member of UTPD since 2005. Oliver, a 2005 UT alum, is the department’s liaison for the Office of Minority Student Affairs and International Student Affairs. He also is the coordinator for the alcohol diversion and drug education programs.