The well-deserved recognition of an MNPD detective who successfully fought a brain tumor and returned to work took place this afternoon as retired Officer/Detective Jeff Tharpe received the 2018 Theodore Roosevelt Police Award for Nashville and Middle Tennessee during a ceremony at the Hermitage Precinct.
The Theodore Roosevelt Association Police Award is given to a police officer who has rendered outstanding and praiseworthy service to the department and the community despite a serious handicap, illness, or injury.
While undergoing his routine department physical in early 2017, doctors discovered that Tharpe, who was assigned to the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force, had a vision issue with his left eye. Months later, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent surgery in August 2017. Not content to give up his law enforcement career until he was ready, Tharpe battled back and returned to full duty status in October 2017. During 2017 alone, Detective Tharpe was involved in a number of high profile investigations that led to the apprehension of dangerous fugitives, including those hiding locally and elsewhere. More than 40 defendants were held accountable on charges including murder, child abuse, home burglary, parole violation and felony probation violation. In the summer of 2018, Detective Tharpe made the difficult decision to retire from the MNPD after a rewarding 25-year career. During his tenure, Tharpe earned a number of awards and received recognition from the national Top Cop program.
In response to being named the Roosevelt award recipient, Tharpe reflected, “There have been many ups and downs, trials and tribulations, successes and failures during the wonderful journey called ‘Life.’ I have no regrets and would do it all the same if given another opportunity. Paying it forward simply allows us to do our Godly duty here on earth, and, as long as I have breath in my body, this is what I will do.”
The Theodore Roosevelt Association established the police awards program in honor of Roosevelt’s distinguished service as President of the Board of Police Commissioners of New York City from 1895 to 1897, and in recognition of his lifelong admiration for the police. Other cities that have presented the award include New York City, Metropolitan Washington, D.C., San Diego, Dallas, and Suffolk & Nassau Counties in New York.
“Jeff Tharpe dedicated himself to the safety of Nashville’s families for 25 years,” Chief Steve Anderson said. “Those who have the privilege of knowing Jeff continue to be inspired by his love of life and people. I am truly proud of him.”
Through the generosity of the continuing award sponsor, Rock Solid Roofing Company, a Division of McEwen Home Improvements (RockSolidRoofingTN.com), new sponsor Homes for Heroes & Vision Realty Partners, Inc., and the Theodore Roosevelt Association, Tharpe today received a $1,000 cash award, a medal, and a bust of Theodore Roosevelt. A bronze plaque, which bears a likeness of Roosevelt for display at the MNPD, will now include the inscription of Tharpe’s name.
Past MNPD recipients of the Theodore Roosevelt Police Award were Sgt. Phillip Sage (1998), Detective Clifford Mann (1999), Detective Frank Pierce (2000), Sergeant James (Jimbo) Allen (2001), Officer William Richardson (2002), Detective Joe Cooper (2003), Officer Horace Temple (2004), Officer Foster Hite (2005), Detective Jeff Ball (2006), Officer Dan Alford (2007), Sergeant Brenda Steinbrecher (2008), Officer James Duke (2009), Officer Faye Okert (2010), Lieutenant Joe McEwen (2011), Officer Cindy Huffines (2012), Officer Dennis Hamm (2013), Officer Bridget Griepentrog (2014), Officer John Downs (2016), and Officer Terrance McBride (2017).
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