Two BTPD promotions fill the last vacant positions within the General Staff | Local News

BRISTOL, Tennessee – Two longtime members of the Bristol Tennessee Police Department have climbed the ranks from lieutenant to captain.

The moves fill the last two vacancies on the senior command staff that Chief Matt Austin has put in place since being appointed to the ministry’s leadership in July.

Brian Hess has been appointed helpline captain and Dannielle Eller will now be the criminal investigation division captain. The positions became vacant when Walter Brown was appointed Major of Administration following the retirement of Tim Eads, and Terry L. Johnson was promoted to Major of Operations, taking over Austin’s former position.

Austin said the department’s promotion process is “extremely competitive,” adding that the two new captains have performed well on written exams and oral interviews and have the diverse experience needed to be successful in their new roles.

Hess joined the BTPD in 2002 after a six-year career in the Sullivan County Sheriff‘s Office. He was a K-9 officer, detective, field training officer, firearms instructor, and Smith & Wesson gunsmith. In 2007, he staged a stint as the K-9 manager for the United States Special Operations Command during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

A 2009 graduate from Hazardous Device School in Huntsville, Alabama, he completed a long list of active shooters and explosives training and was a member of the SWAT team and the bomb squad. He is a Certified Active Shooting Event Civilian Response Instructor, an ALICE Active Shooter Certified Instructor and has been twice named Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the BTPD. Hess holds a bachelor’s degree in emergency management from Bethel University and graduated in 2021 from the School of Police Staff and Command at Northwestern University.

Eller joined the department in 2005 as a Patrol Officer and was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division in 2011. She has served as a Senior Child and Elder Abuse Case Investigator and is an instructor. Certified Rape Assault Defense.

She holds a BA in Criminal Justice from Old Dominion University and is a graduate of the National Forensic Academy at the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations Child Safety Training Academy. She has also taken a number of courses in leadership, oversight and municipal management through the Law Enforcement Innovation Center at the University of Tennessee.

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