If you’re drunk and driving between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. in Loudon County, there’s a good chance you’re about to say hello to Loudon County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Cole Rogers. Getting drunken drivers off the roads is his thing.
Recently, this 28-year-old Loudon County native was celebrated by the Tennessee Highway Safety Office as its East Tennessee “Deputy of the Year.” The award recognizes officers from across the state for their work in the areas of traffic safety, impaired driver detection and looking “beyond the ticket” for traffic-related stops leading to the discovery of other crimes.
Rogers, a 2017 graduate of the Blount County Sheriff’s Office Regional Training Academy, led LCSO in impaired-driving arrests in 2020 and is among the office’s top felony arrest performers, says Deputy Chief Jimmy Davis. Rogers also was selected to be a field-training officer, an honor for any young deputy.
“Yes, the award did shock me,” Rogers said. “I had been told I was nominated but getting it is something else again. It’s been exciting and gives me a real sense of pride to be working with such a great bunch of people here.”
Graduating from Lenoir City High School and starting a family here make this all the more special. “I grew up here and know a lot of people and this is my home. I have a lot of pride about our community and I want to be a good guy making a difference here.”
He began working at the Sheriff’s Office in February 2015 and spent three years as a corrections officer in the jail. “It’s a different animal than being on patrol, but those three years prepared me for patrol. I started understanding people better and trying to be fair and treat them the same as you would your brother. People make mistakes.”
His supervisor is Sgt. Matt Fagiana, the man Rogers says is responsible for his career choice. Fagiana was working part-time for the Loudon County sheriff when he met Rogers, then 20. “I was working a summer job and we met and he asked me to do a ride-along with him and I did,” Rogers says. “I caught the fever. It felt like I was part of the team from the start. It felt like this is what I am supposed to be doing.”
Fagiana remembers it well. “Cole was an intern for me when I was working for Homeland Security at LCUB (Lenoir City Utilities Board) and part-time at KCSO,” he says. “The minute I met him I was impressed. Little did we know then that I would eventually be his supervisor.”
He adds this: “We are blessed to have him. He’s a rock star and he’s not the only one we have. His commitment to his work is at the highest level. He comes in every night with the purpose of working, finding criminal activity and making our community safer.”
Away from work he’s busy helping wife Chelsea with their 20-month-old daughter, Cennedy. “We have a thing in our family about names starting with C’s so instead of Kennedy we spelled it with a C,” he explained. Chris, his father, is a Lenoir City firefighter plus brother Caden, his wife Carson, and his sister Chandler.
He relaxes hunting deer, turkey and waterfowl and hitting the gym five to six days a week. “I try to work out a lot and I’ve always been a gym rat. Plus, this job demands being in really good physical shape and it helps with the stress.”
Tom King has served at newspapers in Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and California and was the editor of two newspapers. He writes this Monday column – Our Town Heroes –for KnoxTNToday.com. Suggest future stories at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 865-659-3562.