Glenn Tucker is a major survivor. Reared in Morristown, this young man had a rugged childhood. Both parents were in and out of jail and prison. He entered his first of multiple foster homes when he was 8 along with his younger twin siblings. Today, at 26, he proudly wears the uniform and patrols our highways as a Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) trooper.
His story is a lot of things … inspirational, incredible, remarkable and, yes, extraordinary. The odds were against him throughout. He won that battle. And others along the way.
Capt. Stacey Heatherly is the commander of THP’s Knoxville District 1.
Here is her “take” on her young trooper: “… He’s solid, quiet and I saw quickly how focused he is, very focused. When he walks by my office, he speaks but doesn’t stop to talk. He’s ready to go to work, squared away. His uniform is always immaculate and so is his THP car. He’s very humble and very impressive.”
His parents are out of jail now, living together at home in Morristown. He sees them off and on, he says. They have health problems. He doused his bitterness toward them long ago. “I’m a Christian and I have learned that you have to forgive others to be forgiven yourself, and I have forgiven them for everything,” he said.
In 2015 he graduated from Cherokee High School in Rogersville and then began studying at Walters State Community College and earned an associate degree in criminal justice in 2018. He says he had known for a while he wanted to be in law enforcement. While at Walters State he entered the Regional Law Enforcement Training Academy in Greeneville for its nine-week course, graduated and was hired by the Morristown Police Department in January 2019.
Two things in life led him into his chosen profession. “Part of it was what happened with my parents and our interactions with the law and in my last foster home my foster brother was and is a deputy with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office. He pushed me to apply and we watched videos together.”
For three years he worked patrol beats in Morristown. But he wanted more and he was by then well aware of the THP’s reputation. In 2021 he applied to the THP.
“Respect goes a long way and the public respects the THP, its professionalism, how we’re all honest and up front with people everywhere. We have integrity and a genuine seriousness on the job. We have pride in how we look and carry ourselves and do the job.”
THP hired him as a lateral transfer and he began the tough road through its Nashville training academy as a cadet in January 2022 and graduated on April 7, 2022 in the 10-week lateral trooper cadet class. His class graduated 14 troopers who all have Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification and have worked as law enforcement officers.
A member of District 1’s Troop A, Tucker’s first day on the job was April 18, 2022. His patrol areas are Knox County’s Interstates 40 and 75, I-275, I-640, I-140 and state highway roads and routes.
Lt. Adam Bowman commands the 22 troopers of Troop A and he’s glad Tucker is one of them. “He’s a good fellow. He’s young and new but he’s a good trooper. Not like a lot of young guys just starting out. He’s a rarity because he has an old-type soul. He takes pride in his job. I don’t have to prompt him. He runs with the job and you don’t have to worry about him.”
Tucker is single, has a girlfriend and away from the job he has four stress beaters. “I work out, read Bible verses daily, shoot basketball and just drive around to relax.”
A big change he discovered is THP’s policy of its troopers having to make personal notification when someone local is killed in an accident of any kind involving a motor vehicle. If a vehicle kills a pedestrian, the family must be notified.
“I’ve assisted at wrecks with fatalities and been to two notifications for the family. I was nervous some but we are professionals and we’re there to do everything we can to support them,” Tucker said. “It’s challenging, can be emotional, but these are their loved ones.”
This past May, Capt. Heatherly received a letter from Matthew Leveque, a retired major and deputy director of the Alaska State Troopers. He moved here in retirement and is now working again, driving a school bus. His letter was about Trooper Tucker, whom he met one day about 6:30 a.m. at the Casey’s on Rutledge Pike.
Here is part of what he wrote: “… I parked my bus near his marked vehicle and made a point to look for your trooper. He was a tall, lean, African-American man who looked like every THP trooper I’ve ever seen – squared away and professional. I was standing in the checkout line when your trooper stopped on his way out the door to ask a (perhaps) homeless man if he was hungry. The down-on-his-luck fellow said he was and then without drawing any attention to himself, your trooper handed the man the breakfast sandwich he had just bought and said ‘Here you go.’ During that moment I felt so proud to have been a state trooper, albeit in a different place. I caught up with the trooper and told him how impressed I was by his compassion.”
Capt. Heatherly sent a note back to Leveque that read in part: “… I would like to thank you for your complimentary letter regarding a recent experience with Trooper Glenn Tucker. Our troopers are trained to serve the public with professionalism, integrity and pride and we greatly appreciate hearing from those we are dedicated to serving as to whether or not these goals are being met. Trooper Tucker is a valuable part of our District… He will be made aware of your appreciation and your letter will be made a part of his personnel file.”
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 featuring, please email him at the link with his name.