Mt. Juliet police launch Safe Return Program for vulnerable, special needs people

Photo courtesy of Mt. Juliet police
The launch of Mt. Juliet police’s Safe Return Program was announced Thursday morning by Chief James Hambrick at the Del Webb – Lake Providence Women’s Club meeting. The program allows registry of people with special needs or vulnerabilities to assist police in finding and identifying them should they wander from their home or come in contact with police.

Mt. Juliet police have rolled out a voluntary registry that will assist officers in quickly locating people with special needs or vulnerabilities who wander away or go missing.

The department’s Safe Return program is a registry that can provide pertinent and critical information regarding a loved one, which will aid law enforcement in identifying an individual should they wander from their home or come in contact with police.

“This program is strictly voluntary with the sole purpose to recover a loved one as swift and safe as possible. In the unlikely event that someone’s family member wanders away, our officers will already have the necessary information needed to conduct a thorough and extensive search,” said Chief James Hambrick.

The registry is available, but not limited to, children or adults living or frequently visiting Mt. Juliet who suffer from autism, Down syndrome, dementia and Alzheimer’s. Family members can register their loved one online at mjpd.org, under programs.

“Having a family member go missing is a very stressful event. This program also relieves a family member of having to try to locate the pertinent information during a time of stress, and it allows the family to focus on locating the loved one,” said Lt. Tyler Chandler.

During the planning of the program, the police department collaborated with members of the Del Webb – Lake Providence community, and its insight was a step in the program’s implementation. The launch of the program was announced Thursday morning at the Del Webb – Lake Providence Women’s Club meeting.

Staff Reports

Police dispatch debate continues

Emergency and law enforcement agencies throughout Wilson County wish to push forward with either centralized dispatch or a common computer-assisted dispatch system as soon as possible, several department heads and representatives said in a meeting Monday.

The Wilson County Emergency Communications 911 Board met Monday afternoon, and among the topics that came up was a desire by some officials, namely Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan, to move forward with some sort of plan.

Along with members of the board and 911 Director Karen Moore, Bryan was joined by Wilson County Emergency Management Agency Director Joey Cooper and Lt. Tyler Chandler with Mt. Juliet police.

“I just really want to get the ball rolling with this, one way or another,” Bryan said.

Bryan said he did not care whether the better option was to co-locate or to join the same dispatch system. He just wanted to take steps in the direction that benefits the people of Wilson County.

Board members agreed with Bryan’s view, and they scheduled a meeting for March 10 at 9 a.m. at the emergency communications building to discuss all of the options in front of them. Moore plans to meet with some officials, including Bryan and Cooper, beforehand to have a better idea of the interests of their agencies.

Bryan said he was willing to move Wilson County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers to the emergency communications building or the WEMA building.

“I know there’s room here [in the emergency communications building] for my dispatcher,” Bryan said. “Is there enough for WEMA, too? I don’t know, maybe.”

Cooper said, while one room is dedicated to WEMA dispatchers at his building, there is available space within the building that could be repurposed to be used by additional dispatchers.

In either location, there would likely not be enough room to include dispatchers from the Lebanon and Mt. Juliet police and fire departments. Emergency communications board member David Hale said any such move would not be a permanent exclusion of those departments.

“As the sheriff said, if we make a move like that, it’s to get things started,” Hale said.

“From there, we have to look at what do we need to do with Mt. Juliet? How do we get everyone together? It’s not to exclude Mt. Juliet or Lebanon. It’s to get started in the right direction.”

Moore said she and Ken Davis, chairman of the emergency communications board, met with Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Haggerty and city Manager Kenny Martin, and the two of them were receptive to co-locating Mt. Juliet police and fire departments’ dispatch with other county and municipal emergency and law enforcement agencies.

Chandler said he would like to see everyone under one roof, but he is encouraged by the willingness of other parties to put things in motion as soon as possible.

Cooper said that moving WEMA dispatchers to another location or moving other dispatchers into the current WEMA building would require county approval. However, Cooper said he was in favor of co-locating.

According to county attorney Mike Jennings, who represents the emergency communications board, Bryan would be able to move his dispatchers into the current 911 building with only the approval of the 911 Board. 

The possibility of constructing a new building – or using a currently unused building – as a centralized dispatch center is also on the table, though board members are wary of any plan that will require a significant financial investment. Officials could also choose to pursue expanding a current building to accommodate more dispatchers.

The other option available to agencies would be to remain in their current locations but switch to a common computer-assisted dispatch system, which would allow moving calls between agencies to be a smoother process. Currently, dispatchers transfer calls to other agencies when necessary.

The emergency communications dispatchers would need to upgrade the computer-assisted dispatch system in the near future anyway.

Moore requested during the Monday meeting the emergency communications board’s executive committee would work with her in writing a request for pricing proposal to get a better idea of the cost of an upgraded system. Even if the board chooses to move toward co-locating with other agencies, Moore said the emergency communications office would need the upgraded system.

Board members, along with representatives from emergency and law enforcement agencies, will weigh the pros and cons of each idea on the table when the board meets for a work session March 10.

By Jake Old

jold@lebanondemocrat.com

Leader of interstate pill distribution conspiracy sentenced to 17 years in prison

David Rivera, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, announced Friday that Benjamin Edward Henry Bradley, 33, of Detroit, Mich., was sentenced to 17 years in prison for his role as the primary supplier of tens of thousands of diverted prescription pills that were shipped into Middle Tennessee from the Detroit area.

Several agencies were involved in the investigation, including the Mt. Juliet Police Department.

Bradley and 17 co-defendants were indicted March 11, 2015 and charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute schedule II controlled substances, including Oxycodone and Oxymorphone.

Bradley and two co-defendants were also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The charges stemmed from a multi-year investigation conducted by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. That investigation, which included the use of wiretap interceptions, revealed Bradley, who worked at a hospital in Detroit, regularly bought up large quantities of diverted pills from a variety of sources and sent them to Tennessee through the mail or by paying co-conspirators to deliver them.

The conspirators then laundered the proceeds by making cash deposits in Tennessee into bank accounts controlled by Bradley in Detroit.

On June 8, Bradley pleaded guilty to both charges. At the sentencing hearing Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger found Bradley was a leader of a drug-trafficking organization that dated back to 2009 and involved the distribution of tens of thousands of pills. Bradley’s 17-year prison sentence will be followed by three years of supervised release.

This extensive investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration; the IRS-Criminal Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the FBI; the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department; the Smyrna Police Department; the Mt. Juliet Police Department; the 20th Judicial District Drug Task Force; the Michigan State Police; the Brighton, Mich. Police Department; and the Clinton, Mich. Police Department. 

Assistant U.S. attorneys Cecil VanDevender and Brent Hannafan prosecuted the case.

Staff Reports

Did You Know? Emergency service workers do great job

I wanted to take a moment to talk about emergency service workers and the great job they do for our county. These are the dedicated men and women who patrol our streets, protect our homes and give us medical treatment and care when we need it. In other words, you can think of them as our guardian angels.

In our great county we have many wonderful men and women working to keep us safe.

We have the Mt. Juliet police and fire departments, Wilson County Sheriff’s office, Lebanon police and fire departments, Watertown police and fire departments and the Wilson County Emergency Management Agency.

These are agencies filled with professionally trained and dedicated men and women sworn to protect and serve not only the citizens of Wilson County, but also those who visit and patronize our great county and cities, as well.

You may say to yourself, “it sure seems like he’s bragging about emergency service workers,” and you’d be right. I am so very proud and appreciative of each and every one of these fine agencies and the men and women who serve.

Our county is truly blessed to have such fine agencies and personnel looking after our well being and safety. Having the peace of mind knowing that my family and I are not only well protected by these fine men and women, but also well represented makes me more than proud to call Wilson County home.

In closing, please take time to get to know an emergency services worker. Tell them how much you appreciate what they do. And as always, please pray for them and our wonderful soldiers serving our great country. They and their families need our constant support and prayers.

May God bless you all for the many sacrifices you make on our behalf.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.

Shepard gets new court date

Michael Shepard, a former teacher and softball coach at Wilson Central High School who was charged last summer with statutory rape, will next appear March 27 in Wilson County criminal court, according to court records.

Shepard, 36, pleaded not guilty to the two charges he faces of statutory rape by an authority figure.

Shepard was scheduled to appear before Judge Brody Kane on Jan. 30. Kane granted a continuance in the case. Shepard first appeared in Wilson County criminal court July 18, and he was scheduled to appear in court on three other dates in 2016. Each time, a continuance was granted.

Shepard was arrested at his home in July. The Wilson County Board of Education accepted Shepard’s resignation during a July 2016 special called meeting, which was held to bring charges against Shepard for termination since he was a tenured teacher at the school.

Shepard was relieved of his coaching duties after he became the center of an investigation.

According to Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan, the criminal investigation also involved a student at the school, but details weren’t released.

Shepard taught algebra and geometry at Wilson Central from 2009-2016. His first season as head coach of the softball team was 2010.

The Lady Wildcats had a state championship appearance in 2014 and won the Class AAA state championship in 2015 with Shepard as head coach.

By Jake Old

jold@lebanondemocrat.com

Fire rekindles, destroys home

Mark Bellew • All Hands Fire Photos Firefighters battle a blaze at a home in Mt. Juliet for the second time in two days early Saturday morning that left it in ruins.

Mark Bellew • All Hands Fire Photos
Firefighters battle a blaze at a home in Mt. Juliet for the second time in two days early Saturday morning that left it in ruins.

Fire struck a home in Mt. Juliet for the second time in two days early Saturday morning and left it in ruins.

Firefighters received a second call to the house in the 500 block of Belinda Parkway on Saturday at about 6 a.m. after joggers noticed the fire had apparently rekindled.

A mother and her son lived in the home. The mother, Patricia Losh, was reportedly on the way back to the home Saturday morning when firefighters called her to tell her the fire had rekindled. The home reportedly belonged to her mother.

American Red Cross volunteers gave Losh and her son a place to stay after the initial fire that started Friday afternoon.

No injuries were reported in the initial fire Friday afternoon. Two residents were in the home at the time of the fire, and they evacuated successfully. The home suffered substantial damage, but firefighters said some items were salvageable.

Upon arrival Friday, firefighters found heavy smoke and flames coming through the roof of the home. After firefighters extinguished the rekindle Saturday, the home was destroyed.

Belinda Parkway was temporarily closed in the area of the home while firefighters fought the flames both Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. The closure was due to a fire hose crossing the road.

According to Mt. Juliet fire officials, the cause of the initial fire remained under investigation, though it didn’t appear to be suspicious. Fire investigators started an investigation into how the fire rekindled.

Staff Reports

Police search for runaway teen

Mt. Juliet police continue to search for a teenager who ran away from a home in Mt. Juliet more than two months ago.

Kishon Wiley, 16, was reported missing Nov. 16. Detectives immediately began to look for Wiley, however their efforts were unsuccessful.

Detectives want to know the whereabouts of Wiley and hope someone in the community will know where she is.

She is a black girl, about 5 feet tall, thin, with brown eyes and long black hair. It is believed she is in the Nashville area.

If anyone has any information regarding the whereabouts of Wiley, they are urged to call Mt. Juliet police at 615-754-2550. Information may also be given anonymously by calling the tip line at 615-754-8477 or at mjpd.org.

Staff Reports

Car crashes into building, catches fire

Mark Bellew • All Hands Fire Photos A car lost control early Saturday morning on Interstate 40 eastbound, slammed into SimplyCare primary care facility and caught fire.

Mark Bellew • All Hands Fire Photos
A car lost control early Saturday morning on Interstate 40 eastbound, slammed into SimplyCare primary care facility and caught fire.

A red sports car went out of control early Saturday morning, left Interstate 40 eastbound, hit a business and caught fire in Mt. Juliet.

The incident happened just before 6 a.m., according to Mt. Juliet police. The car hit the back brick wall of SimplyCare primary care facility at 151 Adams Lane and caught fire. Two people inside the car sustained minor injuries in the wreck. No one was in the building at the time of the crash.

The facility’s sprinkler system, along with Mt. Juliet firefighters, put out the flames.

Mt. Juliet police spokesperson Tyler Chandler said high speeds and overcorrecting appeared to be the contributing cause of the wreck.

Chandler said the initial crash investigation revealed that two people, a 26-year-old female driver and 28-year-old male passenger, were in the car. At some point prior to striking the building, the car went into an embankment and under a chain-link fence. A witness to the crash saw the car traveled at a high rate of speed, changed lanes, overcorrected and lost control prior to impact.

The driver was cited for not having a driver’s license. Police didn’t release the names of the two people involved.

By Jared Felkins

jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com

Two charged in Mt. Juliet drug bust

Two men were charged after Mt. Juliet police executed a search warrant after investigating reports of illegal drug sales at 1323 Old Lebanon Dirt Road on Jan. 10.

Jeremy Gilchrist, 36, of Mt. Juliet, was charged with possession with intent to distribute a Schedule I drug (heroin) and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Floyd Shane Bagsby, 31, of Nashville, was charged with unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

Members of the Mt. Juliet Police Crime Suppression Unit and Metro-Nashville Police Hermitage Crime Suppression Unit, with the assistance from Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, began to investigate reports that drugs were being sold at the Mt. Juliet home.

According to a report from the Mt. Juliet Police Department, it became apparent to detectives in the past few months that heroin and methamphetamine was being sold from the property.

At about 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, members of Mt. Juliet’s Crime Suppression Unit and Special Response Team, along with the Lebanon Police Department SWAT team, executed the warrant.

While tactical teams were entering the structures on the property, two distraction devices were used outside. Police received information that someone inside the home could be armed.

Old Lebanon Dirt Road was briefly closed while the teams operated, and nearby residents may have heard the sounds of small explosives when the distraction devices were used.

Detectives seized heroin and other unknown substances that will be analyzed, as well as syringes, a glass pipe, scales, plastic baggies, ammunition and a shotgun.

The investigation is on-going, according to a media release by the Mt. Juliet Police Department.

“We will not stand for an illegal drug distribution operation to be successful in our wonderful community,” stated police Chief James Hambrick.

“Today was a result of citizens caring about the safety of their community, putting faith into our department to properly investigate, and providing information to detectives so they could be successful in their efforts to stop the distribution of illegal drugs. Many agencies worked together in this effort, and our department appreciates their support.”

Following their arrests, Gilchrist and Bagsby were booked in Wilson County Jail.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Gilchrist remained in custody, held on $3,500 bail bond. Bagsby was released last Tuesday night.

By Jake Old

jold@lebanondemocrat.com

Detectives investigate pharmacy robbery at Target

An suspect forced his way into the CVS Pharmacy inside Target on Sunday evening and demanded pills from an employee.

Officers rushed to Target at 401 S. Mt. Juliet Road at 6:05 p.m. after dispatchers received a report the CVS Pharmacy inside was robbed.

A slender tall white man with dark brown hair and frosted tips, about 6-feet, 2-inches to 6-feet, 5-inches tall, wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, a red and black bandanna covering his face, dark blue jeans and black and grey sneakers, forced his way into the pharmacy at about 6 p.m. and ordered an employee to fill a bag full of pills. The suspect said he was armed, but he did not display a weapon. He ran out of the store and fled north through the parking lot.

No one was injured in the incident, and the suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of scheduled narcotics. Investigators said they hope someone in the community will recognize the suspect and his clothing from surveillance images. In addition, detectives are working to enhance video quality.

Anyone with any information regarding the crime is encouraged to call Mt. Juliet police at 615-754-2550.

Staff Reports

Local firefighter charged with solicitation of a minor

Matthew Patterson

Matthew Patterson

A local volunteer firefighter and Gladeville resident was recently charged with solicitation of a minor, according to a report from the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office.

Matthew Allen Patterson, 31, was arrested Dec. 23 at around noon, according to booking records.

Detectives with the sheriff’s office stated that they were given an investigative lead from the United States Department of Homeland Security involving the possible solicitation of a minor.

Homeland Security agents revealed that the person they believed to be the offender was a Gladeville resident and volunteer firefighter, based on evidence that had been obtained.

Detectives with the sheriff’s office continued to work the investigation, resulting in the arrest last week. Patterson is charged with one count of solicitation of a minor.

“This is yet another reminder of the danger that our children face in today’s digital age,” Sheriff Robert Bryan said.

“It is your duty and responsibility as a parent to maintain and closely monitor any type of electronic device that your child uses. Parents are reminded that there are predators constantly looking for an opportunity to take advantage of the innocence of a child.”

Patterson was released Dec. 23 after posting $3,500 bail bond, according to booking records.

Staff Reports

Several notable criminal cases to be heard in early 2017

Several notable cases will be heard in Wilson County criminal court in the coming months, starting with the trial of Kirby Dies, who is accused of second-degree murder in the death of his son, Joseph Dies.

In 2015, Kirby Dies, 57, was arrested after a shooting incident at Timberline Campground while he and Joseph were camping.

Joseph Dies, 37, was shot multiple times. Police officers and Wilson County Emergency Management Agency paramedics attempted to revive him at the scene. Joseph Dies was transported to University Medical Center in Lebanon, where he was pronounced dead.

Kirby Dies was also treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his leg. At the time, police stated that the two men were drinking alcohol before the incident. 

Attorney Meggan Sullivan represents Dies. The trial is set for Jan. 4-6, 2017.

The following notable cases are also scheduled for the near future:

• Bradley Eugene Osborne, charged with statutory rape by an authority figure and rape of a child younger than 13 years old, is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 12, 2017. He is currently held in Wilson County Jail on $80,000 bond.

• Two brothers who are charged with rape of a child, Fernando and Ramiro Limon, will also appear in Wilson County criminal court in January. Fernando Limon is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 20, 2017, while Ramiro is scheduled to appear Jan. 12, 2017. Both men are held in Wilson County Jail, each on $150,000 bond.

Detectives with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office worked with Tennessee Bureau of Investigation officials on the case due to a language barrier with some of the people involved. Officials began working the case in 2015, and ultimately the two brothers were indicted by a Wilson County grand jury.

• Trenton Bell is scheduled to appear in Wilson County criminal court Jan. 13, 2017. Bell is charged with criminal homicide. Bell is accused in the killing of Sydney Green, 19, of Lebanon in 2015.

According to police reports, Bell reported the death as a suicide, and said he found Green, who was his girlfriend, unresponsive in a bathtub. Green was pronounced dead at University Medical Center.

Detectives investigated and determined the couple was involved in a domestic altercation in their apartment.

• Jeffery Mark Peterson, charged with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, is scheduled to appear in Wilson County criminal court Jan. 13, 2017.

• William Thomas Jones, charged with 10 counts of rape of a child, is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 17, 2017. He is currently held in Wilson County Jail on $12,500 bond.

• Ethan Waring, who was arrested earlier this month on multiple drug and weapons charges, is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 19, 2017.

• William Steverson, charged with 10 counts of statutory rape by an authority figure and 10 counts of incest, is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 20, 2017.

• Cecil Clint Woodard, who is charged with multiple counts of aggravated rape of a child younger than 3 and especially aggravated exploitation of a minor, is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 20 and Feb. 3. He is held in Wilson County Jail on $600,000 bond.

• Dariel Childress, who is charged with multiple counts of statutory rape by an authority figure, is scheduled to appear in court Jan 30, 2017.

• Chase Chandler Poole, charged with three counts of aggravated statutory rape, is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 30, 2017.

• Kevin Bly, charged with aggravated burglary, reckless endangerment, vandalism, aggravated assault and aggravated criminal trespassing, is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 13, 2017.

Bly led Wilson County Sheriff’s Deputies on a high-speed chase earlier this year after allegedly breaking into two homes, threatening a woman while armed and carrying drugs and stealing a car in the southeastern part of Wilson County.

• Yohann Madruga Dencas, who is charged with identity theft and 52 counts of criminal simulation, is scheduled to be in court Feb. 21, 2017.

• Alan Matthew Mooney, who is charged with first-degree murder, arson and abuse of a corpse, is scheduled to appear in court March 3, 2017.

• Juan Javier Garcia, charged with numerous counts of aggravated sexual battery and rape of a child younger than 13 years old, is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 3 and March 31, 2017. He is currently held in Wilson County Jail on $700,000 bond.

• Aaron Dewey Glisson, charged with arson and criminal attempt to commit suicide, is scheduled to be in court March 31, 2017. The fire took place during a burn ban in November during particularly dry conditions.

By Jake Old

jold@lebanondemocrat.com

Deputies graduate from law enforcement academy

Photo courtesy of Facebook The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office congratulates its most recent graduating class from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy Basic Police School. Pictured are (from left) Caroline Marino, Tony York, Penny Trisdale, Sheriff Robert Bryan, Ben Smith, Jacob Jenkins and Alex Alexander.

Photo courtesy of Facebook
The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office congratulates its most recent graduating class from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy Basic Police School. Pictured are (from left) Caroline Marino, Tony York, Penny Trisdale, Sheriff Robert Bryan, Ben Smith, Jacob Jenkins and Alex Alexander.

Several deputies with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office recently graduated from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy Basic Police School, which began Oct. 1 and ended Dec. 22.

As the graduation ceremony arrived on Dec. 22, there were smiles and looks of confidence as the deputies walked across the floor to receive their Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission Certificate.

The Basic Police School’s mission is to produce a physically fit, highly motivated, basically trained police officer thoroughly indoctrinated in the ethics and professional standards of the law enforcement profession.

The graduating officers of the 12-week academy received a degree of both technical and tactical proficiency to function on the streets as well as in the criminal and civil courts of Tennessee.

“I am very proud of the graduating class and their accomplishment in completing the rigorous 12-week-long Basic Police School at TLETA,” stated Sheriff Robert Bryan. “I know they are very eager to hit the streets and serve the citizens of Wilson County by utilizing their training they have received over the last few months.”

Staff Reports

Car burglars strike two neighborhoods

MT. JULIET – Police continue to urge residents to remove their valuables and lock their cars after eight unlocked cars were burglarized Dec. 16-17.

Using the advantage of darkness and likelihood they will find unlocked cars, burglars took to the Willoughby Station and Mt. Vernon Estates neighborhoods pulling on door handles. Upon finding an unlocked door, police said the thieves entered the car and took anything of value they could find.

The unknown burglars took money, debit cards, gifts, a backpack, laptop computer and several other items. In addition, locked glove compartments were damaged as the burglars worked to gain access to the contents inside. The specific streets affected by the burglaries include Sydney Terrace and West Wilson Boulevard.

Residents are urged to remove all valuables from their cars and ensure doors are locked. Also, homeowners are asked to check their outdoor surveillance video footage to see if any suspects were caught on camera operating in the area.

Police offered a $500 cash reward to anyone who can provide information that leads to the conviction of the offenders responsible for the crimes.

Anyone with any information regarding the burglaries are encouraged to call Mt. Juliet police at 615-754-2550. Information may also be given anonymously by calling 615-754-8477 or at mjpd.org.

Staff Reports

Cops shop for local children

Xavier Smith • Lebanon Democrat Wilson County sheriff’s Deputy Jennifer Mekelburg shares a smile with her shopping buddy Tuesday. Mekelburg was one of several law enforcement personnel who shopped for local children during the annual Shop with a Cop event.

Xavier Smith • Lebanon Democrat
Wilson County sheriff’s Deputy Jennifer Mekelburg shares a smile with her shopping buddy Tuesday. Mekelburg was one of several law enforcement personnel who shopped for local children during the annual Shop with a Cop event.

Several local law enforcement personnel looked to give two-dozen children a little more this holiday season Wednesday with the annual Shop with a Cop event.

The annual Fraternal Order of Police Sam Houston lodge event gathered officers, administrators, personnel and retirees from the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, Lebanon Police Department and district attorney’s office to shop for children whose families have shortcomings this time of year.

“The kids all seem excited about this. This is a way for us to provide families that are going to be a little bit short this time of year so these kids can actually have a Christmas. They’re going to be able to get shoes, socks, shirts for school and things like that,” said FOP Sam Houston lodge president David Willmore.

Willmore said the group shopped for 23 children thanks to donations from groups, such as Walmart and the Music City Mopar Club, which donated $1,000 for this year’s event.

Willmore said the group’s donated allowed event organizers to add 10 children to this year’s program. He said the children would typically shop for friends, family and siblings to they would be able to give a gift during the holidays instead of receive one.

“It never fails that there’s always a kid that we bring with us that’s selfless that wants to give forward to someone else. That’s always moving when we deal with that,” Willmore said.

Willmore also praised the law enforcement personnel who participated during what would have been their time off from duty.

“They want to give just a little bit back to the community, and it’s commendable. You can see the excitement in the kids’ faces to be able to get a new shirt or shoes, and that means a lot,” he said.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Holiday season safety

The Mt. Juliet Police Department has increased patrols in Mt. Juliet’s retail areas for this year’s holiday shopping season. The initiative for these extra patrols began in 2010 and the police department is happy to report that there have been no major thefts reported since the increased patrols began.

The police offer the following holiday shopping safety tips to Mt. Juliet residents and visitors:

• Report any suspicious or out-of-place behavior to police, immediately. If a stranger approaches you with innocent-sounding questions, be aware that they may be trying to get information from you or even keep you occupied at the front of the house, while their “wife” or “friend” may be going to the back of your house to see what you might have in your home and how to best gain entry. Even if these people have some kind of identification, call their “superiors” at whatever department or business they claim to be from, just to verify that these people are legitimate.

• Stay alert and be aware of surroundings at all times.

• Park in well-lighted spaces, lock car doors and place packages out of sight in the trunk or under seats.

• Do not carry large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card, if possible.

• Carry purses close to the body, not dangling by the straps.

• Put wallets in an inside coat or front pants pocket.

• Supervise children at all times. Teach children to go to a police officer or security guard if they get lost or separated.

• Take a holiday inventory. The holidays are a good time to take photos or videos of items in your home

Police also offer these parking lot safety tips:

• Always be aware of your surroundings.

• If shopping at night, park in well-lit areas.

• Never leave a vehicle unlocked.

• When walking to your vehicle, look prepared by having your keys in your hand, your purse and other packages close to you, and always be aware of what is around you.

• Never leave holiday packages or other valuable items visible inside your vehicle.

• If possible, shop with other and walk in groups. It is safer to have another person with you.

• If you see suspicious people or activity, go back into the store or to a populated area and contact the police immediately.

If you have any questions or concerns you would like to see addressed in future columns, please email it to jbostick@mtjuliet-tn.gov.

Kenny Martin is Mt. Juliet’s city manager.

Two Mt. Juliet neighborhoods struck by car burglars

MT. JULIET – Police continue to urge residents to remove their valuables and lock their cars after eight unlocked cars were burglarized Friday night and early Saturday morning.

Using the advantage of darkness and likelihood they will find unlocked cars, burglars took to the Willoughby Station and Mt. Vernon Estates neighborhoods pulling on door handles. Upon finding an unlocked door, police said the thieves entered the car and took anything of value they could find.

The unknown burglars took money, debit cards, gifts, a backpack, laptop computer and several other items. In addition, locked glove compartments were damaged as the burglars worked to gain access to the contents inside. The specific streets affected by the burglaries include Sydney Terrace and West Wilson Boulevard.

Residents are urged to remove all valuables from their cars and ensure doors are locked. Also, homeowners are asked to check their outdoor surveillance video footage to see if any suspects were caught on camera operating in the area.

Police offered a $500 cash reward to anyone who can provide information that leads to the conviction of the offenders responsible for the crimes.

Anyone with any information regarding the burglaries are encouraged to call Mt. Juliet police at 615-754-2550. Information may also be given anonymously by calling 615-754-8477 or at mjpd.org.

Staff Reports

Standoff ends without incident

Mt. Juliet police took a man who threatened to harm family members, officers and himself while holding a handgun into custody Saturday night following a more than hour-long standoff in a residential neighborhood.

According to Mt. Juliet police Lt. Tyler Chandler, dispatchers received a 911 call at 6:05 p.m. from family members who said the 21-year-old man threatened to kill them with a firearm. The family members got out of the home at 3011 Fieldstone Court in Park Glen before police arrived, and officers made contact with the man.

“Officers made contact with the man who had a handgun in his hand,” Chandler said. “Officers asked him to put the handgun down, and he continued to hold the handgun in his hand. Officers de-escalated the situation, got out of the immediate area, set up a safety perimeter and kept things calm and awaited other resources to arrive.”

Chandler said the department’s special response team and crisis negotiators were called to the scene.

“While they were waiting, the man came out with the handgun in his hand and continued to threaten officers,” he said. “They had great restraint and remained in their safe zone and waited for more resources to arrive.

“Both teams responded to the scene and began to do the work they are trained to do. Crisis negotiators made contact with the man inside and talked with him for a period of time.”

After about an hour and 35 minutes, Chandler said the man decided he would come out of the home unarmed and meet with officers. Police took him into custody at 7:40 p.m., and he was taken to a nearby hospital for psychological evaluation.

“Ultimately we care about everyone,” Chandler said. “We care about our officers. We care about the individual inside. We don’t want the situation to escalate to where any of us has to use any type of force.

“This subject was threatening to harm himself and also threatening to harm officers, hoping one of those officers would return and further harm him in trying to stop whatever action he had.”

Chandler said charges are pending an investigation into what happened inside the home prior to officers arriving. He said there was no indication the man was intoxicated. The man’s name was not released.

Chandler said police used the Nixle alert system to send messages asking neighbors to stay inside their homes and away from exterior walls and windows during the standoff. He said this was due to the man’s access to a rifle.

By Jared Felkins

jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com

Police announce traffic restrictions for Christmas parade

The Mt. Juliet Christmas Parade and Holiday Half Marathon and 5K will have traffic on North Mt. Juliet Road tied up for most of the midday on Saturday, Dec. 10.

Starting at 10:45 a.m., Mt. Juliet Road will be closed completely to traffic from Charlie Daniels Parkway to West Wilson Middle School in preparation for the day’s events. Mt. Juliet’s residents and visitors should plan ahead and be aware to avoid being stuck in traffic.

The Mt. Juliet Holiday Half Marathon begins near 10:45 a.m., just after the road closure, followed by the 5K at 10:55 a.m. The parade begins at 11:00 a.m.

It is imperative that spectators for the parade and races are parked and off Mt. Juliet Road by 10:45 a.m. In the interest of public safety, parking is prohibited on any sidewalk or grassy area adjacent to the sidewalk during the day.

The following are the traffic restrictions for Dec. 10:

• Mt. Juliet Road will be closed from Charlie Daniels Parkway to Clearview Drive from 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• The right northbound lane of North Mt. Juliet Road will be closed from East Division Street to Clearview Drive from 10:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Right eastbound lane of Lebanon Road will be closed from North Mt. Juliet Road to Benders Ferry Rd from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Southbound lane of Golden Bear Gateway will be closed from Lebanon Road to Woodridge Place from 11:20 a.m. to 1:50 p.m.

• Golden Bear Gateway will be closed from Woodridge Place to Clemmons Road from 11:40 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

• Clemmons Road will be closed from Curd Road to East Division Street from 11:40 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Westbound lane of East Division Street will be closed from Clemmons Road to North Mt. Juliet Road from 11:40 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The goal of the Mt. Juliet Police Department is to ensure the safety of motorists, spectators, pedestrians and participants. For those attending the parade or races, the police department suggests they arrive prior to the 10:45 a.m. street closures. This will allow plenty of time to find parking.

Those not attending the parade may want to avoid the Mt. Juliet Road corridor to minimize frustration with the road closure and large volume of traffic.

Following the parade there will be a large amount of vehicle and pedestrian traffic along Mt. Juliet Road in the center of town. Normally, the traffic following the parade will clear out in approximately 30 minutes. It is estimated that the parade traffic will be clear around 1:30 p.m.

Staff Reports

Police seek suspect who used lost credit card

Mt. Juliet police seek the public’s help to identify a suspect who made fraudulent purchases with a lost credit card.

Police believe the suspect picked up the credit card in a parking lot before making the purchases.

On Nov. 11, the victim noticed fraudulent activity on a credit card statement after losing the credit card. The suspect used the credit card at Walgreen’s in Hermitage to buy prepaid Visa cards.

Police obtained surveillance footage of the suspect using the card. The suspect appears to be a middle-aged white woman with blonde hair. At the time of the incident, the suspect wore a dark-colored Adidas jacket, light-colored pants and a Dallas Cowboys baseball cap.

Anyone with more information about the suspect or the crime may contact Mt. Juliet police at 615-754-2550. Information may also be provided anonymously through the department’s tip line at 615-754-8477 or at mjpd.org.

By Jake Old

jold@lebanondemocrat.com