The UT Police Department has recognized three employees and one campus partner for outstanding performance and service this year to the university and the community.
The employees and campus partner were nominated by their peers. They were feted Tuesday during the department’s annual awards ceremony. They are:
Chris Colby—Officer of the Year. Colby is an inspirational team builder and sets an example for younger officers and peers to follow, a nominator wrote. “This has resulted in (his squad) increasing their self-initiated field activity. This activity contributes to a lower crime rate and a safer community.” Colby is dedicated to mentorship and spends many hours assisting coworkers on and off duty. As a Field Training Officer he ensures new officers receive accurate information and direction. Colby volunteered to become a Mobile Field Force instructor and attended the training certification class. “He took this newly gained knowledge and revamped the training to deliver clear, and up to date information to officers during annual training in this high liability area,” the nominator said.
Xerxes Bell—Supervisor of the Year. Bell is a sergeant in the Investigations Unit. The unit has been very active this year with several high priority cases, including multiple sexual assaults and thefts from around campus. He has managed his investigators’ case load while maintaining his own work load, a nominator said. Bell temporarily assumed responsibility over the daily operations of UTPD’s Strategic Initiatives Unit until a permanent supervisor was assigned. He managed an additional three officers in that unit. He also set up two Targeted Proactive Patrols to address concerns with drug and gun violence in the campus area. “These patrols were very successful leading to confiscations of both drugs and guns,” the nominator said. Bell is a team leader in the UTPD’s Critical Incident Response Team. Additionally, he is on the Title IX review committee and attends meetings with the Knoxville Police Department as a way to share information between the departments. Bell “is an advocate for change within the department and is not afraid of speaking up when he doesn’t agree with a process,” the nominator said.
Kristen Kreger—Noncommissioned Employee of the Year. Kreger is a UTPD accounting specialist. She adapts to whatever changes come her way, never complaining when tasks become cumbersome and complex, a nominator said. “Kristen also takes time from her personal life to bring us together by providing a little treat area for holidays throughout the year. She is always a team player and goes above and beyond to make UTPD feel like a family instead of just a place to work.”
Derek Bailey—Partner of the Year. Bailey is a zone maintenance director in UT Facilities Services. When UT’s Emergency Operations Center began offering public vaccine clinics this year, the events required the collaboration of many campus units, including UTPD and Facilities. “Derek’s participation and willingness to assist with registration on the day of the vaccine events was invaluable,” a nominator wrote. “His assistance allowed me the freedom to move freely about…to address concerns as they arose.” Bailey’s contributions have been instrumental in UTPD’s football security planning, the nominator said. “His efforts in adjustments after the Ole Miss game was critical to our improved operations for the Georgia game and for future games.”