A trooper with the Cookeville District of the Tennessee Highway Patrol has been honored by the Department of Safety. The THP today named Trooper Donald “Dewaine” Jennings as the 2009 Trooper of the Year. The announcement was made during a special ceremony Thursday at 10:00 a.m., at the THP Training Center located at 283 Stewarts Ferry Pike in Nashville. Trooper Jennings, assigned to DeKalb County in the Cookeville District, was named Trooper of the Year for an act of heroism on December 13, 2009. He responded to a traffic crash where he found a vehicle submerged on its top in a rain-swollen creek. The creek water was high and the current was swift. Nobody at the scene had checked to see if there was an occupant inside the vehicle. Without hesitation, or regard for his own safety, Trooper Jennings entered the frigid, waist-deep water to check for entrapped passengers. Unable to determine if anyone was inside the vehicle, Trooper Jennings called for a wrecker to hoist the car out of the creek. Although the efforts of Trooper Jennings did not save the life of the driver, he made every effort, including risk to his own safety, when he entered the water knowing that he could not swim.
Meanwhile, Putnam County resident Timothy McHood has been named as Dispatcher of the Year for District 6. He is the senior dispatcher in the Cookeville District with 15 years experience. McHood, 46, joined the department in 1995 as a Communications Dispatcher 2 following 13 years of experience as a Communications Operator for the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department. On March 3, 2010, he received a call on a hit and run. Dispatcher McHood put out a BOLO and maintained phone contact with the caller. Within minutes police located the vehicle which resulted in four persons being arrested on numerous felony and drug charges. On March 4, 2010, he assisted an ambulance company from Kentucky that had broken down on I-40.