Deputy Honored

Mary E. Hinds News Herald

Loudon County Deputy Chris Jenkins and his K-9 partner Diego were honored with two awards from the United States Police Canine Association, Region 8, which encompasses all of East Tennessee, for their outstanding work in the field. 

Clinton Police Detective Robert Suarez, who is the local president of United States Police Canine Association Region 8, presented the deputy with the awards Tuesday evening at the Loudon County Justice Center. Swarez said that in an unusual circumstance, Jenkins was being recognized for two incidences of excellent police work. "His peers nominated him for best patrol deployment and for best detection. He's getting two awards," Suarez explained.

The first was in October of 2009 when the team was instrumental in locating two individuals in connection with a home invasion on Riverchase Drive in Lenoir City. George Patrick Locklear, 19, was charged with resisting arrest/prevention of service and aggravated burglary. The other arrest was of a juvenile. At that time, Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider said a frantic 911 call came in at and the caller told authorities two men came into her residence and they were dressed in black. 

Guider said deputies arrived on the scene with K-9 units also responding and the K-9 units caught the juvenile subject in some nearby woods.  Diego jumped into the lake and swam to the bank on the other side of the cove. The K-9 then apprehended the suspect, later identified as Locklear, who was then taken into custody. Both subjects were charged with aggravated burglary and both admitted to the crime, according to authorities. 

Jenkins and Diego were also recognized for their work when the Tennessee Highway Patrol called the sheriff's department for assistance searching an out-of-state vehicle. Diego alerted on the car where troopers found two pounds of crystal meth. 

Suarez said the awards have special meaning because they were decided by Jenkins' peers. "All the handlers get together and hear about different deployments the dogs do," he said.

Suarez said the capture of the home invaders was especially outstanding. "In spite of all the things they tried to do to allude the dog, the dog was able to track and locate both suspects." "The region is pretty proud of him (Jenkins)," Suarez said. "Outstanding is the word and he and the dog deserve the recognition."