'Officer of the Year' says character counts - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

'Officer of the Year' says character counts

By Nick Kenney - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Memphis Police Department sergeant was named Officer of the Year by the Optimist Club Tuesday.

"Right off the bat, I can probably think of about 10 or 15 other police officers and investigators who deserve this more than I do.  But I'm not going to give it back," Sgt. Israel Taylor laughed.

Taylor, this year's recipient, humbly accepted the award, and had strong words for those who would dishonor the badge.  Taylor was the lead investigator at the Windjammer back on March 14, 2008.

In that incident, Justin Smith was shot and hurt, and D.J. Munsey was shot and killed.  Taylor and his partner interviewed 40 witnesses, including 14 who saw the shooting, ultimately leading to first degree murder charges against Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Jones.

"For his hard work. For his dedication. His professionalism. You see how he looks when he stands here today. He makes us proud," Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin said.

The award was good news that contrasted against recent events.   In this exact room, Godwin recently announced criminal charges against four Memphis cops.

Tommy Turner was indicted for theft.

Within the past year, Officer Chancy Jones was charged with murder, and Officer Bridges McRae was indicted on civil rights charges.

"What it boils down to, it's not whether or not you're a bad police officer or a good police officer, it's whether or not you're a good person," Taylor said. "It's the type of man or woman you were before you even became a police officer."

Taylor has been on the force since 1993.

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