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The University of Tennessee Police Department held a special award ceremony in December honoring some of its best officers of 2011. 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 is an honor to recognize these individuals for their exemplary service to the UT community,” Graham said. “Members of the UT Police Department conduct countless acts of valor, service, and benevolence throughout the year.”

Jim Underwood

UTPD’s supervisor of the year is Lieutenant Jim Underwood. Underwood is the third shift patrol commander and has served with UTPD for nineteen years. While at UTPD, Underwood has served as lead firearms instructor. Underwood was described by nominators as one of the most approachable supervisors in the department with a contagious and admirable work ethic.

Ron Wade


The officer of the year is Corporal Ron Wade, a first shift patrol officer and member of UTPD for sixteen years. Wade serves as a field training officer and Alcohol Diversion Program instructor for UTPD. Wade was described by nominators as professional, positive, and willing to always help.

Sean Powell


The non-commissioned staff member of the year is Sean Powell, a community service officer for the past thirteen years. Powell was described by colleagues as committed and professional.

Mike Emmerson


The community service award went to Corporal Mike Emerson, a second shift patrol officer. Emerson continually works on outreach programs within the university community and his church family.