Jul 06

WCSO to Sponsor Country Music Festival, Fish Fry to Support Vets Memorial Museum

WCSO to Sponsor Country Music Festival, Fish Fry to Support Vets Memorial Museum

 Everyone is invited to help support our veterans during the upcoming Country Music Festival and Fish Fry to be held 2-6 p.m. Saturday, July 25th at the Wilson County Fairgrounds. All proceeds will go to benefit the Wilson County Veterans Memorial and Museum.

The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office is sponsoring the event, which will feature the “Gold Rush” Band and a number of special guests. Tickets for the benefit are $10 for the food and concert. Children accompanied by adults eat free.

There will be a Johnny Cash Tribute and an Elvis Tribute as well as special music and performances by Wilson County Sheriff Office Chaplain Don Wilson in addition to local artists Karen Wheeler, John Crabtree and Brenda Allen.

“We hope to see everyone support our veterans even if they cannot attend the concert and fish fry,” Sheriff Robert Bryan said. “Our soldiers have given so much for us, we feel helping build a place where people can learn about the sacrifices our veterans of past and present have made for us is the least we can do. By contributing to this event, you will help people learn for years to come about what our veterans have given and continue to give every day for America.”

The Country Music Festival and Fish Fry is one of a number of events scheduled to help fund the Wilson County Veterans Park and Museum. Phase One of the project was erected near the Wilson County Courthouse last year, which includes an eternal flame, POW-MIA monument, star-shaped fountain, monuments for all branches of the military and several flagpoles. Phases Two and Three of the project will include offices and a museum featuring a number of artifacts from various past and present wars.

Anyone who would like more information should call the Wilson County Veterans Office at 615-444-2460.


Jul 06

WCSO Obtain Jail Drug Smuggling Indictments Against Eight

WCSO Obtain Jail Drug Smuggling Indictments against Eight

The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office has arrested eight people in connection with indictments issued by the Wilson County Grand Jury for smuggling drugs into the jail. Others are expected at a later date.

Those arrested for allegedly bringing contraband into the jail include: Frances Eleanor Binkley, 35, of Lebanon; Jennifer A. Young, 31, of Watertown; Kimberly I. Vance, 37, of Lebanon; Edward Lee Judkins, 52, of Smithville; Derek Walthel Neal, 36, of Lebanon; Jill P. Gardner, 48, of Lebanon; Amy N. Stewart, 28, of Lebanon; and Kimberly Dawn Dobson, 35, of Lebanon.

“These indictment and arrests are the result of a well-trained, dedicated staff of correctional officers who are being diligent in their duties,” Sheriff Robert Bryan said. “I want to thank these officers and the investigators who spend countless hours trying to detect these illegal drugs and discover which offenders are trying to smuggle contraband into jail.”

The persons indicted included inmates who were trying to bring in everything from narcotic prescription pills to street drugs such as cocaine and marijuana to other substances banned in the Wilson County Corrections Facility, according to Jail Administrator Capt. David Bennett, who noted that correctional staff undergo extensive training each year to be alert to these kinds of illegal activity.

The sheriff explained that the persons indicted and arrested are ordered by the courts to do their time for their crimes and know in advance they are coming to jail to serve time. “These convicted criminals are doing everything they can to bring in illegal contraband and we are doing everything we can to stop it within the bounds of the state and federal constitutions.”

Sheriff Bryan added, “We will not tolerate this kind of illegal activity. We will continue in our efforts to detect those who are trying to smuggle contraband into our correctional system and intend prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”






Jul 01

Child Rape Suspect Sentenced to 36 Years in Prison in Plea Agreement

Child Rape Suspect Sentenced to 36 Years in Prison in Plea Agreement

Stephen E. Beck, 44, has been sentenced to 36 years in prison to be served day-for-day following a plea agreement entered in Circuit Court today for two counts of child rape.

Beck, who was scheduled to go to court on August 5, was facing multiple counts involving allegations of child rape, sexual exploitation of a minor and numerous other sex charges in both Wilson and Rutherford County, appeared in court in Wilson County today for the agreement. Circuit Court Judge Wootten accepted the plea in exchange for a sentence of 36 years to be served day-for-day at the Department of Corrections, lifetime community supervision and listed on the Sex Offender Registry for life.

It took more than two years, thousands of leads and hundreds of work hours through 17 states before the collaborative manhunt led authorities to Wilmington, N.C., whether they found Beck living under a stolen identity while hiding out with a friend.

“We are very proud of the law enforcement who worked on this intensive joint investigation from investigation to apprehension,” said Sheriff Robert Bryan. “This was an excellent job of law enforcement coordination between our officers at the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office and that of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, TBI and U.S. Marshall’s Office.”

Assistant District Attorney Tom Swink presented the facts of the case in the hearing in Wilson County Circuit Court this morning. Beck, who was represented by Jack and J.D. Lowery, testified he understood If he were to file for post conviction relief following the plea agreement or try to revoke his plea agreement, he would face trial by jury. Beck opted to waive his trial before a jury. He will enter the plea agreement in Rutherford County as well.

“We in our office appreciate the tireless efforts of law enforcement in tracking down this defendant so that he could be brought to justice here today,” said ADA Swink. “We are also extremely grateful and appreciative of the two victims in this case and their family members, who have exercised both courage and patience through this long process. I believe that they feel a sense of justice with today’s outcome. “

Beck was indicted in August 2010 by a Wilson County grand jury and by a Rutherford County grand jury for the sex charges before he fled the state. He was later captured in North Carolina, where he had been living under an alias since June 2013. Authorities developed information he had also been living in the Johnson City area as well while avoiding capture.

Stephen BeckEarlier this year, the court postponed his court date for a mental evaluation. ADA Swink noted that an evaluation before the Middle Tennessee Department of Mental Health determined Beck was competent to stand trial.

Jun 15

WCSO Arrests Two Church Burglary Suspects

WCSO to Present Case after Detectives Arrest Two in String of Church Burglaries

 Wilson County Sheriff’s Office detectives along with Lebanon Police arrested two men Saturday night in connection with a string of church burglaries in the city and county. Sheriff Robert Bryan said his office will present more charges to the Wilson County Grand Jury at a later date.

Early Saturday, detective with both departments arrested Trevon Kyle Lawson, 26, of Lebanon, and Giles Jacob Timbs, 25, also of Lebanon. Both were charged with one count each of burglary with bond set at $7,500. They have a court date set for Aug. 4, 2015.

After reports of several church burglaries over the past few months, WCSO detectives developed a lead on the suspects in connection with several church burglaries in Wilson County and Lebanon. Detectives had been working surveillance for some time when they spotted the two men leaving the Hunters Point Celebration Center, 2232 Hunters Point Pike. After the suspects left, dectives checked the building and discovered a rear window had been removed. Wilson County and Lebanon Police detectives stopped the pair and discovered a cash register in the back seat later determined to have been taken from the Celebration Center. They were taken into custody without incident following the traffic stop at North College Street and East Main.

“This case is an excellent example of good, solid police work,” Sheriff Bryan said. “Our detectives developed a lead through various sources and lots of leg work. They worked this case around the clock, conducting surveillance of the suspects, and it paid off with these arrests.”BothSuspects

Lebanon Police charged the pair in the city, however, both agencies will present evidence of more church burglaries in which the two men are also suspected of burglarizing.

PBA Collects Donations Prior to June 13 PBA 5K Fundraiser




TN PBA Raises Almost $2,000 as Wilson County Gears Up for Signature Fundraiser: Race 4 the Fallen 5K Glow Run/Walk 8 p.m. June 13

Runner, walkers and anyone else of any age who wants to participate in the June 13 Tennessee Police Benevolent Association’s (PBA) Second Annual Race 4 the Fallen 5K Glow Run/Walk are all being invited to help fallen officers and their families. The race, scheduled to begin at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 13, at Mt. Juliet High School, 1800 Curd Road, is expected to be the largest fundraiser yet.

The deadline to register online is Thursday although participants can register at the family-oriented fundraiser as late as 6 p.m. the day of the race. Early race packet pick-up is from 4-7 p.m. Friday, June 12 at the Lowe’s parking lot, but racers can pick up their race gear and goodie bags just before the race on the 13. 

To register for the June 13 Race 4 the Fallen Glow Run/Walk, go to raceforthefallen.com. The Race 4 the Fallen 5K Glow Run/Walk was created to honor the dedicated members of law enforcement who risk their lives each day to protect everyone. It is the signature event to raise money for the PBA chapters across the country. On June 13, cities from across the country will be having their own Fall 5K Glow races. 

The event, which is organized by Wilson County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. James Lanier, drew more than 500 runners last year and raised over $9,000. “We hope this event is even larger and more successful than last year’s race,” said Sgt. Lanier, who is TN PBA Vice President and President of the PBA Andrew Jackson Chapter. “This is a tribute to those officers who have fallen in the line of duty. This is our way of honoring those officers and their families.”

This year, an estimated 54 officers were killed in the line of duty as of June 6 at midnight. Many more have suffered serious injuries. Each year, as many as 150 officers take their own lives. It is for those officers and families the PBA provides support. The PBA fundraiser kicked off Sunday with Wilson County Law Enforcement Day at the Mt. Juliet Worship Center where the congregation and guests contributed almost $2,000 in addition to providing lunch for law enforcement officers and their families from all across Wilson County. 

Wilson County Sheriff’s Office Chaplin Don Willis, assistant pastor at the church, organized the tribute, putting together a video of all the officers killed in the line of duty this year as well as providing music and entertainment for officers and their families. Sheriff Robert Bryan addressed the crowd, noting how especially dangerous the profession has become over the years because of drug addiction and so many people with an increasing violent tendency toward law enforcement officers. Other speakers included Pastor Danny Sellars; FOP Chaplain Sam Weatherly, Mt. Juliet Police Chief James Hambrick; WCSO Sgt. Lanier, WCSO Lt. Scott Moore; Cpl. Emy Bates and others.

The PBA Foundation and Southern States Police Benevolent Association also rely on support from the community through private and corporate donations for a variety of services available for PBA members and their families. The funds go to provide aid to the families of fallen law enforcement officers, scholarships for youth, disaster relief to officers, and post traumatic stress and suicide prevention seminars to law enforcement professionals and their families. For more information about the Police Benevolent Foundation, visit www.pbfi.org.


May 27

WCSO Grants Two MJ Grads Citizenship Awards


Wilson County Sheriff’s Office Selects Two Mt. Juliet Students for Citizenship Awards 

The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office has named two Mt. Juliet High School graduates for its Second Annual Citizenship Award. The recipients, chosen from a field of 470 in the school’s 2015 graduating class, are Aaron Gunn and Rachel Fullerton.

Rachel, who is 17, plans to go to Austin Peay State University. She is a senior editor of the yearbook staff, a member of the national honor society and a member of the Best Buddies Organization (an organization dedicated to working with intellectual and developmentally disabled students.) In addition, Rachel is a member of the BETA Club, which promotes academic achievement, character, community service and leadership development. Rachel is a member of KET (Kappa Epsilon Tau), a community service-based organization. She is the daughter of Laura Fullerton, who said she was “thrilled” by her daughter’s selection, and Paul Fullerton, who added, “We are quite excited, very proud. We feel very blessed to have a daughter who is a beautiful girl, very outgoing and are especially proud she was selected from Mt. Juliet. It’s a great class.”

Aaron Gunn, 18, also plans to attend Austin Peay State University. He is a member of the track team, BNN (the Mt. Juliet news channel), Best Buddies Organization and a member of the student council. He received the prestigious Eagle Boy Scout Award earlier this year. He is the son of Paul and Susan Gunn.

“We were really happy,” said Gunn’s father. “He just received the Eagle Scout earlier this year. That took a lot of work. I think it was a combination of home, church and Scouts. We tried our best to raise him to be a good guy. We were really surprised about this award since we didn’t even know they had one. Given the nature of law enforcement, people who get into trouble seem to be the ones who get the press. It’s really good they care about the good ones too. I’m not sure who all is responsible, but we really appreciate the Sheriff’s Office for doing this. It’s a very kind gesture.”

WCSO School Resources Officer Matt McPeak said this is the second year for the WCSO to present Citizenship Awards to two students at Mt. Juliet High School. He said the selection is made based upon recommendations by teachers and guidance counselors as well as his own personal observance of those who go above and beyond the average student. He said he also relies on his fellow SRO Corporal Trey Tidwell’s advice and gets “a lot of help from” SRO Lt. Scott Moore and Sheriff Robert Bryan.

“We concentrate on those seniors who display outstanding characteristics in their schools and communities,” SRO MCPeak said. “Both have good grades and are excellent examples of the kind of people we should all strive to be.”

The WCSO is hoping to expand the Citizenship Awards to other high schools in Wilson County in the future.

Sheriff Bryan said of the award recipients, “It’s a pleasure for the Sheriff’s Office to recognize and honor young people who are obviously leading by example and making a positive difference in Mt. Juliet High School and Wilson County.”

Pictured L-R: SRO Matt McPeak, Mt. Juliet HS Graduate Arron Gunn and Rachel Fullerton, SRO Lt. Scott Moore

Pictured L-R: SRO Matt McPeak, Mt. Juliet HS Graduate Arron Gunn and Rachel Fullerton, SRO Lt. Scott Moore


May 12

#MoveOver Campaign

IMG_0854Wilson County Sheriff’s Office asks you to #MoveOver. Save a Life! This is part of National Police Memorial Week in honor of the Move Over law requiring motorists to move over if possible to the left lane when approaching an emergency vehicle such as police car pulled on right side of road. Pictured from left to right are: SRO Kent Beasley, Detective Diane Gilbert, Deputy Jennifer Mekelburg, Corporal Emy Bates, Sheriff Robert Bryan; Major Gary Keith; Detective Walker Woods; and Deputy Matthew King.

May 11

Wilson County Law Enforcement Memorializes Fallen Officers


National Police Week Memorial Service held in Wilson County Monday, May 11 

Dozens of law enforcement officers, friends and family turned out today to honor and pay their respects to fallen officers in Wilson County today as part of the National Police Week Memorial Service.

The service, sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police, recognized all fallen law enforcement in Wilson County as well as across the nation.  The event, held in the Courthouse adjacent the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office included remarks and reading of the Wilson County law enforcement fallen officers’ names by most Wilson County Law Enforcement agencies including Sheriff Robert Bryan, Mt. Juliet Police Chief James Hambrick and Interim Lebanon Police Chief Michael Vanhook and others.

The program began with a presentation of colors by the Lebanon and Mt. Juliet Police Department Honor Guards, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer. Lebanon Police Detective David Willmore, president of the Wilson County Lodge #71 began by thanking those who attended and expressed his condolences for those who have been died in the line of duty as law enforcement.

As Lebanon Police Officer Kevin Ragland, president of Lebanon FOP Lodge #83, noted in his remarks, “This is a week we remember our own.” He noted that all law enforcement officers and organizations such as the FOP and PBA are all “a brotherhood.”

WCSO Chaplain Don Willis spoke on behalf of PBA President James Lanier, who was unable to attend, noting that the numbers of officers dying by violence and unrest within communities has grown in particularly this year. “We are praying we reach a balance between individuals’ rights to liberties and the officers’ rights to go home each night and see their families,” Chaplain Willis said. “Forty-four will not be going home to see their families.”

Chaplain Willis offered a prayer of protection for all law enforcement officers as they perform their duties each day. Department heads then had the official reading of names of law enforcement who have been killed or died in the line of duty.

Among those memorialized are:

Mt. Juliet Sgt. Jerry Mundy; Wilson County Sheriff’s Deputy John Musice; Wilson County Sgt. Wiley Williams; Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Oscar Morris; Wilson County Sheriff Harold Griffin; Constable Ben Northern; Wilson County Deputy Millard Brown; Wilson County Deputy John Oakley; and Lebanon Police Chief Robert Nolen.



May 06

WCSO Citizens’ Academy Graduation

WCSO Citizens’ Academy Graduates Largest Class Ever

 Wilson County Sheriff’s Office honored its largest ever Sheriff’s Citizens’ Academy class Tuesday night following a 10-week session that gave citizens a glimpse into what law enforcement officers encounter on a regular basis.

The 24 graduates of varying ages were all smiles as Sheriff Robert Bryan congratulated each and thanked them for attending what was sure to be a unique educational opportunity over 10 weeks.

“A lot of people hear only one side of what law enforcement officers do in certain situations, and there’s been a lot of negative publicity around our country,” Sheriff Bryan said. “We really appreciate you all taking your time away from your families and your commitment to understanding what we do in the Sheriff’s Office. That means a lot. And we appreciate all our instructors, alumni and everyone who has made this possible.”

Sheriff Bryan started the Sheriff’s Citizens Academy three years ago to offer the community and business people a voluntary opportunity to get a better understanding of and full exposure to the Sheriff’s Office.

“This class helps to foster a better understanding between the citizens and the Sheriff’s Office,” said Wilson County Sheriff’s Sgt. James Lanier. “It familiarizes the citizens with how the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office operates. This course shows how different the Sheriff’s Office is from the other law enforcement offices in Wilson County, how much more responsibility the Office has compared to other agencies.”

All applicants had to apply for and pass a background check in order attend the Citizens’ Academy. During the intensive course, students got a glimpse into real-life situations law enforcement face each day. Some of the topics included Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, domestic violence, patrol procedures, Schools Resource Officers, Civil and Criminal Warrants, DUI awareness, handcuffing procedures and other law enforcement functions. The course also included hands-on activities, field trips such as a three-hour jail tour, a visit to the firing range, lectures by Communications dispatchers, a representative from the District Attorney’s Office, demonstrations in boating safety and the Office’s Special Response Team among other activities.

“The Citizen’s Sheriff’s Academy provides a unique interactive look at the scope of our county’s law enforcement,” said Sam Shallenberger, a graduate of the Citizen’s Sheriff’s Academy and President of the Academy’s Alumni Association, who expressed his appreciation for those who made the 10-week course possible. “I came away from the experience with the impression that the Sheriff’s Office is like an iceberg, with only a portion visible to the general public. And now, we hope that you will go tell others what you think of this class and hope to see many join our alumni association that Sgt. Lanier has established.”

Sheriff Bryan told everyone he is anticipating many more classes in the future. “You are now part of our family,” he told the graduates.

The next Citizen’s Academy is scheduled for September 8.

Apr 22

Three WCSO Officers Attend National Conference

Detective Diane Gilbert, Corporal Emmy Bates and Deputy Jennifer Meck

Detective Diane Gilbert, Corporal Emmy Bates and Deputy Jennifer Meck attend “Breaking the Glass Shield” Conference

Three WCSO Officers Attend “Breaking the Glass Shield” Conference


Three Wilson County Sheriff’s Office deputies were selected to attend the recent “Breaking the Glass Shield” Conference hosted by the Tennessee Highway Patrol in Nashville.


The conference provides a forum for the female officers to be exposed to national recognized speakers and network with their peers from other states. More than 300 women from across the country and Canada attended, representing more than 70 agencies at this year’s training event.


Attending from WSCO were Detective Diane Gilbert, who joined the Office in September 1999; Corporal Emmy Bates, who began her career with WCSO in 2003; and Deputy Jennifer Mekelburg, who first started with the WCSO as a dispatcher in 2001.


“This Office felt honored to have this many fine women from our agency to attend this national event,” Sheriff Robert Bryan said. “All three are outstanding officers, and we are very proud of them. We hope to have even more attend the next conference.”


THP Major Betty Blair began the leadership training program in 2012 when she determined there are so few women in ranking positions in all State Police and Highway Patrol Agencies. Today, there are fewer than four percent in the Tennessee Highway Patrol, similar to all other states. There is only one female Colonel, Kriste Kibbey-Etue, Michigan State Police. Nationally, the average is 12-14 percent women in local agencies, Sheriff’s Departments and Police Departments.


“This motivated me to search for leadership training for women in law enforcement,” Maj. Blair said. “I was unable to find anything so, with Col. (Tracy) Trott’s approval and support, I developed our own.”


Maj. Blair said the majority of the classes consist of leadership training in addition to networking and other subjects. This year’s conference also featured several high-ranking law enforcement women addressing issues such the growing problems of human trafficking, critical incident stress debriefing and a judge’s perspective on law enforcement presented by Federal Court of Appeals Judge Julia Gibbons.

The biennial conference is open to all commissioned women in law enforcement in addition to support staff such as analysts, etc. Attendees received 16 hours of Peace Officers Standards Training (POST) for this year’s event.