Dispatcher Bill Dunn, an Atoka resident who’s been nicknamed the “Voice of the Tennessee Highway Patrol,” was recently honored with the agency’s Dispatcher of the Year award for the Memphis District.
Capt. Joel Deal, Lt. Cheryl McNairy and Sgt. Penny Roser nominated him, stating his daily performance is worthy of commendation because he goes about his duties “aggressively and purposefully.”
Dunn began working with the agency in 1972 and left for nine years, but returned in 1989. When he started, things were much different.
“We had one radio channel and radio log where you had to write everything down,” he said. “Today I have five monitors, everything’s on a computer, and we have 20 different radio channels.”
When it comes to queries on a status of a driver’s license, registration or warrants, the response the agency now has, he said, is unbelievable.
“We can do a check and have the information back within two seconds, even from another state.”
His dedication to the job is what earned him the nomination, said Deal, McNairy and Roser.
“Over the past three decades, Dunn has exhibited that he understands well the volatility of a trooper’s job and works diligently to ascertain and disseminate necessary information quickly,” they said. “He is the trooper’s choice of communications operators because he responds readily and goes beyond what is asked to supply any needed information.”
Tipton-based trooper named trooper of the year
A trooper temporarily based in Tipton County has been named the Fourth District Trooper of the Year by the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Trooper Darline Smith, a Haywood County resident, is also the first African-American woman to be awarded the honor.
Smith has spent 27 years in law enforcement and is usually stationed at the scales. In nearly three decades, she has seen a lot of changes.
“Everything is technology-based now,” she said. “You went from knowing everything in your head, because you used it so much, to being able to look it up on your computer. You can look the law up right there in your car.”
Smith also said having the ability to print right on the roadside, instead of having to go back to an office, is a big enhancement.
Working in Tipton County since last fall, she already has a reputation for being strict and hard-working.
“I just go out and do my job,” she said.