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K-9 Confidential: Bruno and Officer Jeffrey Quirin

UTPD K-9 BrunoUT Police Department Officer Jeffrey Quirin helped breed and raise German shepherd puppies on his family property as a youngster.

“What interested me was training a dog and seeing not only how capable the dog can become but also how it can excel past a human officer given its innate abilities,” he said.

Transitioning into UTPD’s newest K-9 officer seemed like a natural fit. This spring, Quirin was paired with Bruno, an 18-month-old German shepherd. Bruno joined the three other UTPD K-9s as the department’s first apprehension and drug detection dog.

Bruno was born in Germany, trained in Poland, and brought to the United States by Iron Heart High Performance Working Dogs in Shawnee, Kansas.

UTPD Officer Jeffrey Quirin and K-9 BrunoHaving Bruno on the force enhances public safety, said Quirin, who has been with UTPD for two years.

“It gives our department and our community another asset to find bad guys, and it allows us to provide a higher level of service,” said Quirin, who is a member of UTPD’s new Strategic Initiatives Unit, a team tasked with addressing unique criminal issues.

As part of his job, Bruno can sniff out drugs, capture a fleeing violent criminal, and protect Quirin in dangerous situations. He also can track missing people or suspects and assist in searches in open fields and in buildings.

“Resolving situations would be much more problematic without the assistance of these types of dogs,” Quirin said. “I enjoy that I get to work with Bruno, and it makes my job more fun. He looks forward to going to work because it’s merely play time for him.”

Quirin acknowledged the job could prove to be a difficult one.

“Bruno doesn’t get out of the car for minor things, only major situations generally,” Quirin said. “It’s hard knowing that I can send him into a situation where he may get hurt or killed.”

Bruno’s name means protection in German. “Given his personality, that was appropriate,” Quirin said.

Because of Bruno’s training, Quirin encourages the public to ask him before approaching and petting the dog. He also recommends that people not stand over or directly behind Bruno and that they approach him only from the front.

When Bruno is not working, Quirin trains with him in new environments and exercises him a lot.

As for Bruno’s weak spot? Food.

“He loves anything and everything food. But his reward at the end of a track is hot dogs,” Quirin said.

Learn more about the expansion of UTPD’s K-9 program.


 Lola Alapo (865-974-1094,

K-9 Confidential: Athena and Corporal John Platt

UTPD K9 AthenaCorporal John Platt’s interest in becoming a K-9 officer stemmed from a desire to have a family dog.

“You also get this highly trained dog and you get to take her to work,” said Platt, who has been with the UT Police Department four years. He is a member of UTPD’s Community Relations Unit, which conducts the department’s education and outreach efforts.

Platt and Athena became a team in January 2018, when she joined UTPD. Athena is a two-year-old Belgian Malinois who is certified in explosives detection. Born in Poland, she was brought to America last year by Iron Heart High Performance Working Dogs in Shawnee, Kansas.

A playful and friendly pup, Athena loves people, especially children. She lives with Platt and his family, which includes a 20-month-old toddler.

Corporal John Platt and K9 AthenaHaving Athena enhances the police department’s mission of service, whether it’s sniffing venues for suspicious packages before an event or being a department ambassador when meeting an adoring public, Platt said.

When she’s not sweeping venues for explosives or accompanying Platt as he leads various orientation sessions on campus, Athena can be found hanging out around the office. During lunch, she and Platt sometimes play fetch at World’s Fair Park. “She is great at it, too,” he said.

Having a K-9 has been an adjustment, Platt said, particularly in the amount of training and attention Athena requires every day.

“She’s a high-energy dog. If I don’t work her hard enough, she won’t have that quality of life that she deserves. So even when I get home and I’m tired, we go out and play some,” he said.

Her name evokes the Greek goddess of wisdom. “I feel like it is fitting because her job is to detect odor and she does great at it,” Platt said.

Learn more about the expansion of UTPD’s K-9 program.


 Lola Alapo (865-974-1094,

K-9 Confidential: Bira and Sergeant Cedric Roach

UTPD K-9 Bira UT Police Department Sergeant Cedric Roach had been a combat engineer in the Marine Reserves with a background in handling explosives. So he jumped at the chance to be one of UTPD’s K-9 officers when the department launched the program in 2013.

He and Bira, a 6-year-old Belgian Malinois, have been a team since then. Bira was born in Poland and brought to the United States by Iron Heart High Performance Working Dogs in Shawnee, Kansas. She is certified in explosive ordnance detection.

Roach, who has been with the department 11 years, serves in UTPD’s special events unit, which coordinates police presence at more than 500 athletic events, speaking engagements, concerts, and special activities on campus every year.

Sergeant Cedric Roach and K-9 BiraRoach sees Bira as a work tool. “But she’s a living, breathing work tool that you grow close to, your family becomes fond of, and she becomes a part of your family.”

When working an event, Roach and Bira arrive at the venue several hours ahead of its start time to search it with the other K-9 teams.

“When we do our searches, it’s always a game to the dogs because they’re always looking for a reward,” Roach said. “We never want to find anything. But when we don’t find anything, it can mess up our dogs because they’re used to finding something when we train. You always want to end on a positive note so the dog remembers that positive experience.”

When there are no events, Bira can be found snoozing in her kennel at the office or waiting for visitors. “She’s extremely social. She loves people and will take a belly rub for days,” Roach said.

Turns out the name Bira can be hard for some people to say. “She’s been called Vera and Bria,” Roach said.

But Bira doesn’t mind as long as she gets her favorite snacks from Roach.

“She loves peanut butter. She also loves cheese and that’s what I feed her pills in,” he said. “And occasionally she loves a rawhide bone. For Christmas one year, I got her a giant smoked cow femur with bits of meat on it. She gnawed on that thing until it wore her out.”

Learn more about the expansion of UTPD’s K-9 program.


 Lola Alapo (865-974-1094,

K-9 Confidential: Tica and Corporal Mary Cameron

K-9 TicaWhen the UT Police Department introduced its K-9 program five years ago, Corporal Mary Cameron sent her husband a text.

“What do you think about a dog?” she said.

“Sweet,” he responded.

“What about a K-9?” she asked.

“OK,” he replied.

“He knew I would be working nights and weekends and he was on board,” Cameron said, noting that the lifestyle change that came with becoming one of UTPD’s first K-9 officers would affect her family as well.

Corporal Mary Cameron and K9 TicaCameron, a nine-year veteran of the police department, is based in the patrol division and also works special events with Tica, a six-and-a-half-year-old Belgian Malinois. The dog is certified in explosive ordnance detection. She was born in Poland and brought to the United States through Iron Heart High Performance Working Dogs in Shawnee, Kansas.

“The way that society has become, it’s not if a bad event happens but when,” Cameron said. “Tica helps to give a sense of security because she’s good at what she does. Visitors who come to campus say, ‘I appreciate you for taking care of me.’”

Cameron said she has always had an interest in K-9s thanks to her sister, who is a police officer and works for a department that employs them. Watching Tica get excited about her job is rewarding, she said. To Tica, it’s not work, it’s play time.

“I want her to retire never finding anything other than the training aids we place,” she said.

When she’s not working, Tica puts a healthy distance between herself and humans and dogs, especially other female dogs.

“Her personality is ‘if I get to know you, I’ll decide if I want you to pet me. If not, I won’t let you. It’s on my terms,’” Cameron said. “She talks in the patrol car all day long. But at home, she’s quiet and she chills.”

As for her name, Cameron isn’t sure what it means. “Crazy child?” she asked with a laugh.

In retirement, Tica will likely want to climb on the couch and eat a steak and not get into trouble. For now, she’ll settle for the occasional accidental drop of food on the ground at home, courtesy of Cameron and her husband.

“She likes when daddy eats popcorn because he spills popcorn on the floor,” Cameron said.

Learn more about the expansion of UTPD’s K-9 program.


Lola Alapo (865-974-1094,

UT Police Department Expands K-9 Program

UTPD K-9s and officers at the Torchbearer statue

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Police Chief Troy Lane was standing on the 50-yard line inside the University of Oklahoma’s football stadium on October 1, 2005, when a student detonated a bomb about 100 yards from the stadium, killing himself.

Lane, then assistant police chief at Kansas State University, had accompanied the Kansas State Wildcats to play the Oklahoma Sooners. The experience would influence his subsequent approach to campus security planning. He used bomb dogs while chief at the University of Wyoming. He arrived at UT in 2012 and the UT Police Department in 2013 welcomed two explosive-detecting dogs, Bira and Tica, after the Boston Marathon bombing.

This year, the UT Police Department has expanded its canine program, doubling the number of K-9 officers and dogs on the force to four teams.

“We have so many controversial things, concerts, high-level speakers, and sporting events that bring thousands of people to campus,” Lane said. “I take a bit of comfort knowing I’ve had a dog go through an area versus a couple of officers who look to see if anything is out of place.”

Three of the four UTPD K-9s are explosive-detecting dogs, with the most recent, Athena, added this past January. They are single-purpose dogs and have just one job, sniffing out bombs. They are all female Belgian Malinois.

In June, the department added a fourth dog, Bruno, a male German shepherd who serves a dual purpose: apprehension and drug detection.

Theft is the largest category of crime reported on the UT campus. Occasionally, UTPD receives reports of armed robberies and aggravated assaults. Ninety percent of the time, those crimes are drug related. And sometimes they involve students, Lane said.

“If I have an armed robbery and I know the perpetrator is armed, do I sacrifice one of our officers or send in a K-9 who is trained to take someone down and hold them until an officer gets there?” he asked.

UTPD acquired all four K-9s from Iron Heart High Performance Working Dogs in Shawnee, Kansas. The Belgian Malinois were born in Poland and the German shepherd in Germany. All were brought to the United States by Iron Heart. The dogs trained with their handlers for six weeks at the facility.

Bira and Tica, the department’s older dogs, are paired with Sergeant Cedric Roach and Corporal Mary Cameron, respectively.

Athena and Bruno, the newer dogs, are paired with Corporal John Platt and Officer Jeffrey Quirin, respectively.

The K-9s and their handlers train every Thursday for at least four hours around campus and with other area law enforcement agencies. The dogs go home with their handlers every day. They also recertify every year with a nationally recognized K-9 association.

UT Veterinary Hospital provides the dogs’ health care and nutrition plan. The police department supplies the dogs’ food, kennel, toys, and training aids, and assumes all costs associated with maintaining each K-9.

The average length of service before retirement for police dogs is eight years, Lane said.

“Whether it’s best practices or common sense, there is real value in having this K-9 program,” he said.

K-9 Confidential: Learn more about our K-9s and officers:

Tica and Corporal Mary Cameron

Bira and Sergeant Cedric Roach

Athena and Corporal John Platt

Bruno and Officer Jeffrey Quirin


Lola Alapo (865-974-1094,

Top 6 in 6: A Look at UTPD Changes

The UT Police Department has introduced changes to improve safety on campus and better serve the Volunteer community in the last six years.

Here’s a look at some of those changes, instituted after the arrival of Troy Lane, associate vice chancellor for public safety and chief of police:

  • New canine program. The team includes three explosive ordnance detection dogs who sweep campus venues prior to concerts, sporting events and other large-scale activities. A fourth canine—an apprehension and drug detection dog—will be added this summer.
  • Veterans Crisis Intervention Team. UTPD has trained its first group of officers in the program, which is designed to identify and assist student veterans in crisis. Team members are themselves military veterans.
  • Introduction of body cameras for officers that gives UTPD a more efficient way to review and resolve complaints against officers. All video evidence also has been moved to cloud storage.
  • Chief Troy Lane

    Chief Troy Lane

    Enhanced UTPD response to violence against women. Lane and several UTPD officers have attended the International Association of Chiefs of Police Institute on Violence Against Women. As a result, the officers have a better grasp of how to serve victims of trauma and how to center their investigation on the care of those victims. Lane also consulted with the Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women to establish the first ever curriculum for specific training in sexual assault response for college campuses.

  • Placed full-time investigator on FBI Cybercrimes Task Force: With the increase in internet crimes, participating in the task force gives UTPD in-house expertise and the ability to respond to and resolve the crimes quickly.
  • Sent three UTPD officers to FBI National Academy: Involvement exposes UTPD to the latest and best in leadership training and provides additional resources through networking with fellow participants.

UTPD’s efforts have extended beyond campus to partners around the country. In fall 2017, 25 officers traveled south to help the University of Florida with game-day security during Florida’s recovery efforts after Hurricane Irma.

Lane, who celebrates six years at UT on June 25, was named the 2016 Director of the Year by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Association. He also was elected to Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police Board of Directors that year.

Severe Weather and Flood Preparedness Week!

The Office of Emergency Management will be tabling at various locations around campus to provide preparedness tips and information on campus this week to help you be prepared in an emergency situation. One of the best ways you can make sure you are individually prepared and help build a resilient campus is to participate in this week’s activities and to take note of the information provided. Stop by our table to participate in our scavenger hunt, to win prizes, to grab a snack and to learn more about the tools available to protect yourself in the event of an emergency!

Events This week

February 27 – Lightning/Thunderstorm Safety: The International House, 2:30 – 5 PM
February 28 – Flooding Safety: Hodges Library, 12:45 – 3:30 PM
March 1 – Fire Safety: Hodges Library, 9:30 – 12 PM
March 2 – Tornado Safety: The scavenger hunt ends! Pedestrian Walkway, 9:30 – 12 PM
March 5 – Earthquake Safety: The scavenger hunt begins! Pedestrian Walkway, 12:45 – 3:30 PM

Active Shooter Preparedness


active shooter iconThe campus makes every effort to intervene before a person may turn violent, but we continue to see in our society that prevention is not always possible. UTPD and local law enforcement train regularly for these terrible crimes; but individuals need to know what to do before police arrive.

There is information and training available for the campus community.  Visit the Active Shooter page on the safety website and watch the videos.  Training and drills are available for student groups and departments.  You can request training through UTPD’s Community Relations Unit by filling out this form.

Emergency Preparedness Resources


The Office of Emergency Management has been encouraging the campus community to improve their personal preparedness as part of nation emergency preparedness month.  This email provides you with quick access to the resources available to you as a member of the campus community. 

New this year: bleeding control kits in AED cases

  • A comprehensive website that includes:
    • Individual protective actions
    • Information on campus notification
    • Links to campus planning documents and guides
  • Building posters that provide quick references to emergency information











  • Printed materials


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Tip of the Week: UT Alert Visitors Sign Up

Students, faculty, and staff are eligible to receive UT Alert text messages by signing into their UT Alert account using their NetID and password.

If you have family or friends visiting you on campus, they can now sign up to receive alerts while they are here.  This new capability allows people on campus who are visiting for fun or business or who are attending an event to temporarily sign up for alerts by texting the keyword VisitorsUTAlert to 67283.

They will automatically be signed up to receive text alerts for 30 days or they can opt out at any time by replying STOP to the confirmation text. Learn more about the campus mass notification.

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