Deputy Chief Zac Frye did not waste or mince his words about Cody Bengel. “He’s always willing to work and do whatever is asked of him. Cody has a positive attitude and is a great representative of Loudon County and the sheriff’s (office).”
Patrol Deputy Bengel is an 11-year veteran of the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) and he’s only 29. Six words Frye used have real meaning – “… do whatever is asked of him.” Along with his full-time patrol duties, he also serves LCSO in these roles:
- Recently selected to be the LCSO’s community relations coordinator.
- He’s one of the agency’s three PIOs – public information officers – who deal with the news media and represent LCSO.
- Helps manage the office’s social media platforms.
- In 2022, he stepped in for a three-month span as the interim fleet manager.
- He’s pulled many shifts as a field training officer, breaking in the new hires and training them as they ride along with him in three-week intervals.
A day in late August 2022 is one he will never forget. He was driving home after a long day on the road and heard a call about a single-vehicle accident on Ford Road. “I was literally 30 seconds away from the address and when I arrived an elderly gentleman in his 80s had driven off the road and hit a culvert next to a driveway,” he explained. “When I got to the car the man was unresponsive and had a horrible compound fracture of his left leg and was bleeding really bad.”
Bengel grabbed the tourniquet he always carries. Working while the man was still inside the car, and within 30 seconds, he had the tourniquet on the man’s leg and stopped the bleeding. “Once I slowed the bleeding, I managed to get him out of the car. His leg was really bad and he had some facial and head lacerations.”
It took the medical “cavalry” close to 7 or 8 minutes to arrive, he said. “I was working on him, trying to get him to talk but he wouldn’t or couldn’t answer my questions. He was in shock.”
Priority Ambulance rushed the man to Fort Loudon Medical Center and met UT’s Lifestar helicopter there for the ride to the UT Medical Center. “On the ride to UT they could not get a blood pressure to register but kept working on him and he did survive,” Bengel said. The man’s wife fortunately suffered only minor injuries.
Bengel was that man’s angel of life. Had he not been so close to the accident to apply the tourniquet, there is a real chance the man would have bled to death. “Undoubtably, without Cody’s actions and the application of the tourniquet the outcome would have been much different,” Frye said.
In August 2022, the LCSO presented its prestigious Lifesaving Award to Bengel for his quick actions in saving the man’s life. His first LCSO honor came his way in March 2019 when he was selected as the Patrol Deputy of the Month.
He’s had some interesting experiences in his memory bank, too.
One was the day he had to chase down someone’s pet potbellied pig that was running down Highway 11. He was finally able to grab the 60-pounder and carry it back to his LCSO cruiser and take it to the Loudon County Animal Shelter, where it was eventually reunited with its owner. But no Pig Saving Award for that one!
Another call carries memories, too. A woman they knew well from previous drug arrests was again strung out on drugs, doing donuts in her car in her front yard and then she drove across the street and did donuts in several neighbors’ yards as well. The responding deputies, including Bengel, had a hard time catching her. She finally got out of her car near her home and started running for the front door. “She didn’t make it to the front porch,” Bengel says. “I tackled her pretty good.” Back to jail she went.
One more memory. Bengel works part-time with the UT Police Department to assist with major events at Neyland Stadium, Thompson-Boling Arena and the football team’s “Vol Walk” plus graduations and concerts. His latest UT memory happened on Oct. 15, 2022 – Tennessee 52, ’Bama 49. “I was working on the field that day and got caught in the crowd rushing onto the field. It was very scary. It was a mob scene.”
His experience began in 2012 when he served as a volunteer reserve officer. Once hired, he worked for four years in the jail as a corrections officer. Bengel also spent time serving civil warrants within the patrol division. In November 2019, he graduated from the Blount County Sheriff’s Office Regional Training Academy.
“I knew early in my life I wanted to be a law enforcement officer. I have always looked up to law enforcement. I love it because I’m there to help someone, to listen to them,” he says. “It is a lot more complex than I first thought but for me it’s not just a job – it’s a career. I love doing this every day. If this job were to disappear, I don’t know what I would do.”
Bengel graduated from Lenoir City High School in 2011.
He has seen so much in his young career – accidents with fatalities; young lives killed in accidents and young and old who die in drug overdoses as the fentanyl crisis grows; the constant use of Narcan to save people’s lives from the overdoses; multiple domestic violence calls and suicides.
“It’s not easy to deal with the deaths … the overdoses, seeing the people killed in vehicle accidents, any deaths involving children or young people. It’s sad to say this but the longer I work and experience these things the easier it gets,” he said. “It’s a hard job every single day with huge responsibilities.”
Tom King has been the editor of newspapers in Texas and California and also worked in Tennessee and Georgia. If you have someone you think we should consider, please email me at the link with my name.