KPD Sgt. Jeremy Maupin: Minister, coach, cop

Tom KingNorth Knoxville, Our Town Heroes

He is a minister. And a high school basketball coach and athletic director. He’s a Big Brother as part of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. And a sergeant at the Knoxville Police Department (KPD), a long-time member of the Special Operations Squad (SWAT), the field training officer coordinator for new cops, and co-director of the Peer Support Team.

This multi-talented fellow is KPD Sgt. Jeremy S. Maupin. His list of roles at KPD and his specialized police training amassed in 22 years are impressive, to say the very least. He was a patrol sergeant for five years, an investigator in Violent Crimes, DEA Task Force officer, Organized Crime Unit investigator, and a Certified Narcotics Instructor.

If you can’t track him down at KPD, you may well find him at his church, First Apostolic Christian Church of Knoxville on Pleasant Ridge Road. It was also his school and he was salutatorian of his 1998 graduating class. He runs the school’s athletic department and coaches the boys’ basketball team, handles safety and security for the church, founded its youth summer camp and for 10 years directed the Youth Ministry. Every position he holds as a volunteer at the church and its school. No paycheck.

He’s 6-4 and played basketball there and two years at Roane State Community College. And these days he’s coaching his two sons – Ayden, 16, and Andrew, 14. Lori, his wife of 20 years, works at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. He earned an associate degree in general science at Roane State in 2000 and a bachelor’s degree in organizational management at Tusculum College in 2005 – while working fulltime.

“Busy” does not do justice to the life he lives. And it is a life he loves, every aspect of it. Just ask him.

“I’m a great believer in being called to what I do and this is what God called me to do,” this deeply Christian man says of his calling to KPD. “I like to help people however I can and be a figure in someone’s life to help them have a better life. If I can better someone’s life every day that’s a great thing.”

His specialized police training list covers 63 areas of police work, in areas such as acute traumatic stress management, swift water rescue, ambush counter measures, gang investigations, tactical medicine, supervisory leadership, Secret Service dignitary training, KPD’s recruiting team, and special weapons training, to name only a few.

Honors? Yep.

  • Seven Citizen Commendations and seven Supervisor Commendations
  • Two Supervisor Nominations for KPD Officer of the Year and seven supervisor nominations for KPD Officer of The Month
  • Three-time recipient of the KPD Officer of The Month Award
  • Received Project Safe Neighborhood Officer of the Year Award (2009) by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District

He’s humble to a fault and does not dwell on honors.

The job as co-director of the Peer Support Team is one he loves. The other co-director is Sgt. Sam Henard. They assist officers in dealing with traumatic experiences, shootings, bad wrecks (especially when children are involved), on-duty injuries, substance abuse, loss of loved ones or illnesses. “We do critical stress debriefs, counseling and working on the overall wellness and now we’re even working with our retired officers,” he said.

He’s been shot at while patrolling “the projects” and again during a domestic violence call. Seared into his memory, however, is a call from 2004, something he says was really scary in hindsight.

In 2004, a 14-year-old boy forced his way into the Holston Hills home of Judith and Ted Cope. He had a pistol. When Cope tried to get the boy’s gun, the boy shot him in his side. The Copes’ handicapped son, hiding in a back room, called 911.

Maupin was one of the five responding officers. From the back of the home, they watched as the teenager doused the couple in alcohol, poured it all over the floor around them and on the stove. His intent was to burn them alive, Maupin said, and burn down the house. They knew he had to be stopped.

Maupin was the first through the back door and before the boy could react the big cop tackled him from behind while his partners cuffed him.

In the proceedings that followed, the young man was remanded to serve five years in the juvenile system, then was freed from custody at 19.

Fast forward to May 3, 2015. Stefany Fairbanks, 42, died from multiple stab wounds while walking on the Third Creek Greenway close to the parking lot off Sutherland Avenue. Minutes later police arrested a 26-year-old man as he was casually walking through the parking lot. His name was Timothy Dwayne Ison, the teenager that Maupin tackled in the Copes’ home 11 years earlier.

“I heard about it that day and naturally my thoughts went back in 2004. It hit me really hard. I had a range of emotions. I was frustrated he was out and walking around knowing what he was capable of doing,” the sergeant said. “It was emotional and tough that this monster ended her life.”

Maupin did visit the “interview box” at KPD after Ison was arrested. “I looked him right in the eye and asked him if he remembered me and he shook his head no. I just walked out.”

Ison’s trial was in May 2017. Five people were called to testify during his three-day trial. One was Judith Cope. The jury found him guilty of first-degree murder and on May 11, 2017, he was sentenced to life in prison with no parole.

“In most jobs you work 9 to 5 and go home, but here every day is different. We are entrusted by the community to be part of peoples’ lives, solve crimes and make this a better city for them,” Maupin says.

“It’s tough most days, bad on other days and stressful. But it is truly fulfilling work to do what we do and contrary to what a lot of people may think, this community appreciates what we do. I know. I hear it from many people.”

Tom King has served at newspapers in Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and California and was the editor of two newspapers. Suggest future stories at [email protected] or call him at 865-659-3562.

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