Mt. Juliet police tests modern load-bearing vest uniform

The community will likely see some Mt. Juliet police officers wearing a different style of uniform.

The department plans to test a modern approach to a police uniform, and one that has greater advantages and options that cannot be ignored, according to Mt. Juliet police Capt. Tyler Chandler. The uniform transitions an officer’s ballistic vest to the outside of his or her shirt and is load bearing, which will give relief to the waist because the equipment will be attached to the vest, Chandler said.

“Traditional, heavier duty belts typically lead to back injuries after many years of service. In a recent [University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire] research study, it was determined that officers who carry their equipment on vests rather than duty belts experience much less hip and back pain,” Chandler said. “This style of uniform will also provide better relief from hot temperatures in the summer, better identification of officers, and officers will be able to carry additional life-saving equipment such as tourniquets and bleeding-control products.”

“Our officers’ health and wellbeing are so important, and we have reviewed research that load-bearing vests are a safe and healthier alternative to the outdated, traditional uniform. It is research we cannot ignore,” said Chief James Hambrick. “During the test phase, the department’s goal is to make sure that transitioning to the load-bearing vests is the right step to take for our officers and community.”

Man pleads to animal cruelty after dogs starve

By Matt Masters

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A Mt. Juliet man pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges Wednesday in Wilson County criminal court.

James Elwain Williams Jr., 58, pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and two counts of criminal information as part of a plea deal.

Wilson County criminal court Judge Brody Kane sentenced Williams to nearly four years of supervised probation. Williams was originally charged with two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, a Class E felony, that stemmed from a 2017 incident at his home on Corrinth Road in Mt. Juliet.

Assistant District Attorney Tom Swink outlined the state’s case against Williams. Swink said on April 15, 2017, a Wilson County sheriff’s deputy responded to the home Williams owned but didn’t live in after a neighbor discovered two dead and decaying pit bulls chained in the backyard after the neighbor smelled something dead.

Williams told the deputy he knew the dogs were dead, but the dogs belonged to a woman who used to rent the home from him and never returned to get them after she moved.

Williams said he had no way to contact the owner, and the dogs were not his responsibility. Williams told Kane he did fed the dogs for a while, but he went to work a construction job in Gatlinburg and returned April 14 and found the dogs dead.

Williams told the deputy animal control had never been to the home, but animal control went to the home and got the bodies of the two dogs. They performed a necropsy on the dogs and determined they died from malnourishment.

The nearly four-year probation sentence was a result of four 11-month and 29-day sentences to be served consecutively.

Two Mt. Juliet police officers receive Trilogy awards

Two Mt. Juliet police officers recently completed a three-part Federal Bureau of Investigation Law Enforcement Executive Development Association program, which led to Lt. Jason Brockman and Sgt. Tommy Shelton’s reception of Trilogy Leadership Institute awards.

FBI-LEEDA said its mission is “to advance the science and art of law enforcement leadership and promote the exchange of information to improve law enforcement management practices through training, education and networking among police professionals across the United States and beyond.”

“Lt. Brockman and Sgt. Shelton sought to carry out their goal of obtaining the Trilogy Leadership Award,” said Chief James Hambrick. “I’m proud of their effort and desire to further their knowledge to better serve our community.”

In June, August and October, the Murfreesboro Police Department played host to the FBI Leadership Institute, and Brockman and Shelton traveled to take part in the leadership academy. Those who successfully complete the supervisor, command and executive leadership institute programs receive the Trilogy Leadership Institute award.

Sheriff’s office seeks winter donations for homeless

By Matt Masters

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The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office plans to collect warm clothing items and blankets for the homeless in Wilson County for the second year in a row with Project Warm Wilson.

Patrol deputies will have blankets and warm-clothing items in their patrol cars to hand out during their shifts as needed, and sheriff’s officials will deliver collected items to known locations populated by the county’s homeless population throughout the winter months.

“We hope yet again for the community’s support in donating any of the following items to ensure we keep the homeless of Wilson County warm this winter. We will have a location in our lobby for donated items, available to be dropped off at any time,” said Wilson County sheriff’s Lt. Scott Moore.

Items needed include blankets, jackets, hats, Hot Hands warming packs, gloves and thick socks.

Any person or businesses may drop off donations at the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office at 105 E. High St. in Lebanon 24 hours a day, and anyone who needs to make pick-up arrangements may contact Madeline Jennings at 615-444-1412, ext. 249 or [email protected]

Guns, drugs, cash found in Mt. Juliet home

By Matt Masters

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The Wilson County sheriff’s special response team and Lebanon police’s SWAT team, along with assistance of Mt. Juliet police, charged a wanted teenage boy last week and confiscated guns, drugs, stolen property and cash at a home in Mt. Juliet.

Authorities found three guns, including one stolen from a home invasion in Rutherford County, various narcotics, including cocaine, crack cocaine, cannabis and LSD, and large sums of money believed to be involved in drug distribution.

The arrest and seizure happened when a search warrant was executed at 1712 Mt. Juliet Road after authorities suspected they would find evidence connected to crimes associated with vehicle burglaries in Wilson and Davidson counties.

The search warrant also listed a teenage boy who had two active juvenile petitions out of Davidson County for aggravated robberies. Authorities found about 15 people inside the house, including the boy, who was wanted in Davidson County.

“We were able to collectively execute a search warrant on a residence where numerous drugs and firearms were present, as well as apprehend a juvenile who was involved in violent crimes out of the Metro area,” said Sheriff Robert Bryan. “This is just another example [the danger] this potentially could’ve posed the public and to the officers. We are working every day with our local and surrounding agencies to combat drug distribution and to keep weapons out of the wrong hands. Many of these suspects were also associated with vehicle burglaries, and we cannot stress enough the importance of securing your vehicle every time you leave it unoccupied.”

The boy was taken to Davidson County, and five other suspects face numerous drug and firearm charges pending the outcome of a Wilson County grand jury investigation.

Guilty plea ends 7-year sexual exploitation case

By Jared Felkins

Dennis Lee Arnold

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A Mt. Juliet man pleaded guilty Monday to felony soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor in a case that took seven years to reach a conclusion. 

Dennis Lee Arnold, 54, pleaded guilty to three counts of soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor in Wilson County criminal court a day before he was scheduled to stand trial on 18 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor by electronic means and simple assault.

Judge Brody Kane sentenced Arnold to serve two years on each of the three counts included in a plea deal to run consecutive to each other for a total six-year prison sentence. The six-year sentence will run consecutive to a 27-year sentence Arnold received in Davidson County.

Arnold was arrested in August 2011, originally charged with two counts of solicitation of a minor and assault. He was held in the Wilson County Jail on $252,500 bond until February 2015. 

In 2011, Wilson County sheriff’s detectives investigated the case, and the investigation revealed Arnold committed crimes against the same victim, an adopted family member, in Davidson County where the family lived when she was younger, according to Assistant District Attorney Tom Swink. He said the family later moved to Wilson County. 

Swink said Arnold was convicted in Nashville in July 2013 of two counts of felony aggravated sexual battery and one count of solicitation and sentenced to 27 years in prison, which is why it took seven years to go to trial in Wilson County. 

“He was convicted in Davidson County and had a 27-year sentence, so there was no prejudice to the defendant by the delay,” Swink said. “His sentence was upheld on appeal.” 

In the Wilson County case, Swink said Arnold would intentionally expose himself in front of the family member and her friend. 

“In our case, both victims would testify about him exposing himself to them,” Swink said. “Detective [B.J.] Stafford interviewed the defendant back in 2011, and the defendant made admissions corroborating victims’ disclosures.”

Backyard, shed go up in flames

Staff Reports

Mt Juliet firefighters responded to this fire in the rear of a home on Raven Crossing. The fire involved a shed and sections of fence and some trees. There was no damage to the home.

Mt. Juliet firefighters fought a fire Tuesday evening that burned a resident’s backyard, shed, fence and trees. 

Mt. Juliet dispatchers sent firefighters to 2022 Raven Crossing just before 6:15 p.m. after a resident reported his backyard was on fire and spreading to the trees and a fence. 

Deputy Chief Chris Allen arrived first and found a shed, fence and trees were on fire in the resident’s backyard. Firefighters with a ladder unit led by Lt. Brent Blamires arrived and started to extinguish the fire. A hydrant was found in the front yard. 

Firefighters put out the fire and cut away some trees and a few fence sections to ensure the fire wouldn’t reignite. The roofing material from a shed was pulled away and firefighters soaked the pile of ashes.

Allen said the cause was determined to be a homeowner who burned some fungi in the back of the shed when the fire got out of hand and spread to the shed. The fire then extended to the trees and fence. 

Firefighters cautioned the homeowners about open burning in the densely wooded area so close to a building.

There were no injuries and no damage to the home.

Teens caught vandalizing Charlie Daniels Park

By Matt Masters

Mark Bellew • All Hands Fire Photos
Authorities caught two young teens after they vandalized playground equipment last Monday night at Charlie Daniels Park in Mt. Juliet.

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Authorities caught two young teens after they vandalized playground equipment last Monday night at Charlie Daniels Park in Mt. Juliet. 

Two 13-year-old boys were captured on surveillance video climbed on and damaged two xylophones while they tried to climb onto the roof of a pavilion at about 7:30 p.m. at Charlie Daniels Park.

According to a police report, an officer was dispatched to the park Tuesday morning when a parks employee discovered the vandalism. 

The video showed the two white boys, who were unidentified due to their ages, work together to damage the property. One of the boys successfully climbed on top of the pavilion while the other carried the broken xylophone around the park.

Police contacted both boys’ mothers, and the mothers told police they wanted to speak with Mt. Juliet Parks Director Rocky Lee.

While the report lists two counts of vandalism greater than $500, one against each boy, Lee said he wanted to meet with the parents before any charges, if any, were issued.

Car thieves outrun police

Staff Reports

Photo courtesy of Mt. Juliet police
A police pursuit was discontinued last Wednesday evening after a stolen vehicle with four masked teenagers armed with rifles in it reached high speeds on Patricia Drive near Interstate 40 and Briley Parkway.

A police pursuit was discontinued last Wednesday evening after a stolen vehicle with four masked teenagers armed with rifles in it reached high speeds on Patricia Drive near Interstate 40 and Briley Parkway.

A Mt. Juliet police officer spotted a stolen vehicle at about midnight in the Century of Providence apartment complex. The vehicle – a dark-colored Chevrolet Cobalt – was later found abandoned. Officers did not find the occupants.

Metro-Nashville police relayed the vehicle description to Mt. Juliet police after an armed robbery in Antioch. 

“I’m grateful that our officers spotted the suspects prior to them being able to commit a serious crime in our city. It is obvious that they were dangerous individuals,” said Mt. Juliet police Chief James Hambrick. “Criminals do not recognize the invisible city limit lines, and it is important for all of us to stay vigilant, especially late at night when the majority of these crimes are being committed by armed teenagers across the Metro-Nashville region.”

The department continues to meet and share information with surrounding police departments, including Metro-Nashville police, about the recent trend. Residents are always urged to report suspicious activity, lock their cars, remove any valuables and be mindful of their surroundings late at night and into the early morning hours.

Anyone with any information about the crime is encouraged to call Mt. Juliet police at 615-754-2550. Information may also be given anonymously by calling 615-754-TIPS or at

Officers catch teen in stolen car

Staff Reports

A 15-year-old boy was charged Sunday night after Mt. Juliet officers found him in a car stolen from a woman in Hermitage.

The victim, who had her car stolen while she was at a Laundromat near Lebanon Pike and Central Pike in Hermitage at about 8:15 p.m., called Mt. Juliet police dispatch. While the victim was away from her car, she left it running and unlocked.

The victim tracked the vehicle by GPS, and it showed it in the Providence area.

Officers found the 2014 Ford Fusion at Mapco at 194 S. Mt. Juliet Road and attempted to stop it when the driver got the car stuck on a curb.

Two suspects ran from the car, and a 15-year-old boy from Hermitage was taken into custody. The passenger, a black teenage boy, was not caught. He was last known to wear a black shirt and plaid cargo shorts.

The 15-year-old suspect was taken to Wilson County Youth Services to be processed.

Detectives nab suspect wanted for credit card skimming

Staff Reports

Mt. Juliet detectives charged a suspect wanted for multiple charges related to credit card skimming activity in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Detectives used investigative techniques and discovered the unidentified 30-year-old suspect was likely in the Mt. Juliet area. Detectives searched for the suspect, and he was charged while he drove a rental vehicle Friday at about 9 p.m. on Old Hickory Boulevard near Interstate 40 in Hermitage.

Detectives discovered credit card skimming equipment and multiple cloned credit cards. It’s likely the suspect was in the process or attempted to skim credit cards in the area, according to Mt. Juliet police Capt. Tyler Chandler.

Chandler encouraged residents to watch their debit and credit card transactions for fraudulent activity. If any suspicious transactions are spotted, the card issuer should be notified immediately.

Due to the continuing investigation, the suspect’s identity was not released.

Police catch gas station burglary suspect

Staff Reports

A Mt. Juliet police officer spotted a suspicious man on Lebanon Road on Monday morning who turned out to be a suspect in a Shell gas station burglary that happened early Saturday morning.

The officer who was on patrol in the area noticed a suspicious person at about 10:15 a.m. The man attempted to hide a backpack as the officer passed him.

After the officer spoke to the man, Luciano Ruotolo, 19, of Mt. Juliet, police said they believe he was responsible for the Shell gas station burglary, where nearly $1,000 of Juul vape pods and pens were stolen after the station’s front glass was broken. Detectives also found Ruotolo was in possession of nearly half of the items stolen from the gas station.

“Mt. Juliet’s finest work hard to keep our community safe, and they are always on the lookout for suspicious activity,” said police Chief James Hambrick. “We continue to be relentless in our desire to make sure Mt. Juliet is one of the safest communities in Tennessee.”

Ruotolo was charged with burglary, theft of property, unlawful possession of burglary tools. He was booked in at the Wilson County Jail.

Volunteer community services officer unit launches

Staff Reports

Mt. Juliet police recently launched a new unit to further serve the community and free up officers for higher priority incidents.

A new civilian all-volunteer unit in the department, community service officers will be deployed in the field to aid police officers to respond to lower priority calls for service.

Community service officers, when on duty, will be able available to assist with traffic control, visibility patrols, motorist assists, roadway debris removal, extra patrols, home vacation checks and other low-priority incidents. The unit is designed to relieve police officers of some of the more minor and routine tasks that can more effectively and economically be handled by civilian volunteers and free up police officers to deal with higher priority tasks and criminal activities more comparable with their training and expertise.

Community service officers are civilians, not police officers, and undergo a 50-hour training program before they start their service. They are identified in bright-green reflective polo shirts and black pants. The department plans to open opportunities for interested citizens to become volunteer community service officers in the future.

Mt. Juliet police search for fraud suspect

Photo courtesy of Mt. Juliet police
Mt. Juliet police seek the public’s assistance to identify a man suspected last Wednesday of fraudulent use of a credit card.

Mt. Juliet police officers seek a suspect they believe used a fraudulent credit card Wednesday in the area of Mt. Juliet Road near Old Lebanon Dirt Road.

The suspect was caught on surveillance camera and is a white, dark-skinned adult who wore a white polo and red shorts.

Anyone who sees someone who fits the description or has any further information about the incident should call 911.

By Jacob Smith

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Stalking suspect found inside walls of home after barricade

A suspect wanted for aggravated stalking was found inside the walls of a home she had barricaded herself in on Escalade Drive in Mt. Juliet late Thursday night.

According to Mt. Juliet police Capt. Tyler Chandler, the woman was wanted about 4:30 p.m. for reportedly stalking the neighborhood with a knife.

“In the evidence that we have, she was walking around, while stalking, armed with a knife,” said Chandler. “She wasn’t threatening anyone with it, she was just stalking while armed with a knife.”

The woman apparently barricaded herself in a house, and officers had to wait for a judge to approve a search warrant to go inside. The Mt. Juliet police crisis negotiation team tried to coax the woman out of the house while they waited for a warrant.

“We also wanted to give her plenty of time to come out on her own,” said Chandler. “Using our special response team to go inside a home is our last resort.”

When the officers went into the house with a warrant, they were unable to find the woman until one of the officers heard a noise in the wall. They found she had gotten stuck when she tried to hide from the officers inside the walls of the house.

“It’s believed that she got into the wall by going into the attic and then just dropping herself down between the bedroom wall and exterior wall of the house,” said Chandler.

It took officers some time to get the woman out of the walls, and when they did, she was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

“It’s pretty unusual,” said Chandler. “It’s a first for me, and the other officers on scene definitely haven’t seen this before, but if someone’s attempting to evade police, it’s likely they’re going to use whatever means to try to stay away from us or hide from us, and it’s clear she was hiding from us.”

The woman involved in the incident was arrested for a domestic violence incident just a few days prior.

Chandler said once she was evaluated at the hospital, she would be taken to the Wilson County Jail and charged with aggravated stalking.

By Jacob Smith

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Argument on child’s birthday led to fatal shooting

Mark Bellew • All Hands Fire Photos
Wilson County sheriff’s deputies search for Thomas Adams after he allegedly shot his wife following a domestic dispute on their child’s birthday.

The fatal shooting last Wednesday afternoon that ended with an alleged shooter dead in an apparent suicide appears to have started as a domestic dispute between a husband and wife on their child’s birthday.

According to Wilson County sheriff’s Lt. Scott Moore, Jessica Adams brought her two children to a home at the corner of Gwin Place and Quarry Road in Mt. Juliet where the children’s father, Thomas Adams, was at the time. The two parents got into a fight, and Jessica Adams took the children inside the home then stepped back outside to continue the argument.

A resident inside the home called 911 to report the altercation, and as deputies responded, the resident reported shots were fired, and Jessica Adams was possibly hit.

When deputies arrived, they found her lying on the ground with a gunshot to the stomach. Thomas Adams had already left. Deputies tried to help Jessica Adams until Wilson County Emergency Management Agency paramedics arrived. The paramedics took her by ambulance to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, where she was later pronounced dead.

Deputies searched for Thomas Adams in the nearby area and enlisted the help of a K-9 unit, a Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter, a special response team and Mt. Juliet police officers.

The searchers were able to contain him in an area off the roadway around the 6600 block of Hickory Ridge Road. Negotiations took place for several hours while he threatened to kill himself. The officers found Adams dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound shortly after dark.

Thomas Adams had an extensive criminal history in Wilson County on a variety of charges, including domestic violence that involved Jessica Adams, who was also arrested once in March on a domestic assault charge that involved him.

Moore said it was unclear if the two planned to hold a birthday party for their child or Jessica Adams brought the children to see their father, because it was one of the children’s birthdays.

By Jacob Smith

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Sex offender caught after viral Facebook post

Daniel Harris

Wilson County sheriff’s deputies charged a man last Wednesday with violation of the sex offender registry after a viral post on Facebook accused him of the crime.

Daniel Sherman Harris, 75, of Mt. Juliet, was charged with violation of the sex offender registry after Mora Cole’s Facebook post that accused him went viral Tuesday night.

Cole said in the post Harris convinced her to come to his chicken farm and bring her child with her. Cole convinced her husband to go with her, and said Harris seemed upset with the fact her husband was there.

“When [my son] got in the car, I told [Harris} I will never buy eggs from him again,” said Cole. “I could sense he was a potential threat to my child.”

She was so disturbed by the interaction with him, she looked him up when she got home and found him on the sex offender registry. He was also working at the Donelson Farmer’s Market last year reportedly trying to convince families to come visit his farm.

Deputies arrested Harris on Wednesday afternoon they saw the Facebook post. According to Wilson County sheriff’s Lt. Scott Moore, investigators checked into the complaint and found Harris was in violation of the sex offender registry.

“We want to remind everyone that if you observe suspicious activity going on, to directly contact our office at 615-444-1412 so that we can immediately investigate the situation,” said Moore.

By Jacob Smith

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Victim flown to Vanderbilt after dump truck accident

LifeFlight paramedics flew a driver in critical condition of a dump truck that flipped on its side last Tuesday afternoon to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

According to Wilson County Emergency Management director Joey Cooper, the accident happened at about 11:45 a.m. at 1175 E. Division St. in Mt. Juliet.

The unidentified truck driver was still inside, and WEMA first responders had to remove him. He was in critical condition with multiple injuries and was flown by emergency helicopter to Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s emergency room in Nashville.

The road was closed for about two hours while crews worked to get the driver out and clear the scene.

By Jacob Smith

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Local girl raises more than $1K for fallen deputy’s family

Photo courtesy of Facebook
Law enforcement officers and other first responders support 6-year-old Caroline Freeman’s lemonade stand Saturday that raised money for fallen Dickson County sheriff’s Sgt. Daniel Baker.

A local girl started a lemonade stand last weekend to raise money for the family of Dickson County sheriff’s Sgt. Daniel Baker, who was killed May 30 in the line of duty.

Six-year-old Caroline Freeman raised $1,125 for Baker’s family in less than five hours at her lemonade stand at 1734 Wrencrest Drive in the Cambridge Woods subdivision in Mt. Juliet.

According to Freeman’s mother, Cherish Piche, a few houses in the neighborhood had yard sales, and Freeman wanted to do a lemonade stand.

“I told her we would donate all of the money we make from the lemonade stand to the charity of her choice,” said Piche. “She chose Sgt. Daniel Baker’s family.”

The stand offered lemonade, bottled water, cookies, gourmet donuts, freeze pops and juice boxes. Several people stopped by just to donate to the cause and even more donated to the cause via PayPal.

Several Mt. Juliet police officers, Wilson County Emergency Management Agency responders and other Wilson County first responders stopped by to thank Freeman and buy lemonade from the stand.

“She touched all of our hearts [Saturday], and her compassion reminded us of the goodness in our world,” said Mt. Juliet police Capt. Tyler Chandler. “We appreciate Caroline, so much, for her support of fellow law enforcement officer, Dickson County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Daniel Baker and her efforts to help the Baker family.”

Piche shared a video Saturday afternoon for Freeman to thank everyone who helped raise the money for Baker’s family.

“Hi everyone, thank you for coming to my lemonade stand today, and we sold $1,125 for Sgt. Baker,” said Freeman.

By Jacob Smith

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Car burglary suspect charged for second time in Willoughby Station

Jason Tallent

Mt. Juliet police charged an Hermitage man with car burglary early Sunday morning, which was the second time he was charged in less than a month.

Mt. Juliet police Capt. Tyler Chandler said officers arrested Jason Michael Tallent, 27, when he was found breaking into unlocked cars in Willoughby Station. Chandler said a homeowner spotted Tallent and called police.

Tallent was charged Sunday with burglary of a motor vehicle and theft of property and booked in at the Wilson County Jail on $7,500 bond, where he remained.

On May 17, Tallent was charged with burglary of a motor vehicle, unlawful possession of a weapon and public drunkenness and booked in at Wilson County Jail on $5,000 bond. He was released three days later and remained out on bond Sunday when he was charged for the second time.

By Jared Felkins

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