Two local Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers were honored last Thursday evening at the THP Trooper and Dispatcher of the Year Ceremony in Murfreesboro. There, troopers and dispatchers were recognized for their outstanding service to the State of Tennessee.
Trooper Jeremy D. S. Tramel was named Trooper of the Year for the 6th District, citing an incident that occurred last summer.
On June 5, 2016, Trooper Tramel was at the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department when a call was received for a suicidal female. THP assistance was requested due to a firearm being involved.
He arrived at 12:00 midnight to find the front door of the facility open and the lights turned off. Trooper Tramel noticed the door to the female restroom was closed and the light inside on. When he approached the door, and announced himself, the female occupant told him she had a gun up her nose and would pull the trigger if he opened the door.
He began to talk with her in an attempt to gain her trust and keep her calm, while the other officers notified dispatch to send additional resources, including a negotiator. The woman stated she needed mental help and wanted to go to Massachusetts. She also requested a friend to come to the scene; however, he was in Lawrenceburg and would not arrive for two hours.
Trooper Tramel continued to converse with the woman, who requested a cigarette. He began to slide her cigarettes under the door, trading them one at a time for bullets from her weapon. A negotiator with Putnam County Sheriff's Office arrived and determined that allowing Trooper Tramel to continue negotiations would be best since he had been doing so for nearly one and a half hours.
Three and a half hours after arriving on scene, she had just two bullets remaining, when her friend from Lawrenceburg arrived. She gave up her weapon and remained inside the door. Trooper Tramel finally got her safely out of the room, gently placed her in handcuffs, and then accompanied her to the hospital for evaluation, riding with her in the back of a DeKalb County Sheriff's Office patrol car.
THP Sergeant Dewaine Jennings was also recognized at the ceremony with a Lifesaver Award for a call he responded to last Spring.
On May, 30, 2016, at around 1:40 AM, Sergeant Jennings arrived on the scene of a boy standing on a billboard, threatening suicide. When he arrived, there were two other officers present, but none were attempting to make contact with the youth. He felt he needed to get to the teen and attempt to evaluate him and see what his needs were.
With the assistance of Trooper Al Seitner, Sgt. Jennings was eventually able to be lifted high enough to grasp a ladder on the billboard, and climb up to where the boy was located. He made contact with the teen and began conversing with him.
The boy stated that he was fed up and did not want to go on with life. Sgt. Jennings noticed blood all over the boy's arm from self-inflicted wounds. He learned that boy was 16 years old, and began to talk with him about his hobbies and school.
Sgt. Jennings conversed with the teen for approximately one hour and ultimately convinced him to go to the hospital for evaluation. The Cookeville City Fire Department responded with a ladder truck to help them get off the billboard safely. Sgt. Jennings secured the boy with a safety belt, and moved him to the platform of the ladder truck, before securing his own safety.
At the request of the boy's mother, Sgt. Jennings transported him to the hospital, in lieu of EMS, because he had developed a rapport with him, and exhibited great concern for his safety.