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Posted on: December 29, 2021

BTPD announces promotions within Patrol, Communications divisions

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Justin Bush, an 11-year veteran of the Bristol Tennessee Police Department who has been instrumental in training and mentoring patrol officers during his tenure with the department, has been named Captain of Patrol as part of a series of departmental promotions announced Wednesday by Chief Matt Austin.

Additionally, Matt Cousins, Jeff Keesee, and Micah Doty – each of whom formerly held the rank of sergeant - have been promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and dispatchers Penny Durham and Whitley Hyatt have been named Communications Supervisors. 

Capt. Bush holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from East Tennessee State University. He joined the BTPD in April 2010, serving as a patrol officer and then Field Training Officer until he was transferred to the department’s Criminal Investigations Unit. As a detective, he oversaw general investigations, child abuse cases, background investigations, and internal investigations. Most recently, he has supervised the day-to-day activities of a number of patrol officers, helping them progress in specialized areas of interest. He has completed a number of leadership training programs focused on first-line supervision, instructor development, and mid-level management, and is currently enrolled in Northwest University’s School of Police Staff & Command.

In his new role, he will be responsible for overseeing the entire Patrol Division. He replaces Capt. Charlie Thomas, who is retiring on Dec. 30.

Those promoted to the rank of lieutenant will each supervise a shift within the Patrol Division. The positions became vacant through promotions and interdepartmental transfers.

 Lt. Cousins is a veteran of the Maryland Army National Guard, the Tennessee Army National Guard, and the U.S. Army. During his military service, he earned a long list of prestigious commendations, including the Bronze Star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, and six Army Achievement Medals. He holds an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from Maryland’s Frederick Community College and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from King University. Lt. Cousins began his law enforcement career in 1999 with the Kingsport Police Department and was named Director of the Second Judicial District Drug Taskforce in 2007. He joined the BTPD two years later and has served the department as a Senior Police Officer, K9 Handler, SWAT Team Leader, Field Training Officer, Critical Incident Stress Debriefer, Child Safety Seat Technician, and Firearms Instructor.

Lt. Kessee joined the BTPD in 2011 and has served as a patrol supervisor since 2018. He holds an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from Northeast State Technical Community College and is a graduate of the Southwest Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy Jail Basic School and the Walters State Community College Basic Law Enforcement Program. He holds a long list of law enforcement certifications including Field Training Officer, Basic Firearms Instructor, Basic Traffic Crash Investigation, and Police Basic SWAT School. Additionally, he has served as a member of the department’s SWAT Team for a number of years and has been named DUI Officer of the Year by the Tennessee Highway Safety Office five times. He began his career in law enforcement in 2007 as a jailer and court security officer for the Bristol Virginia Sheriff’s Office.

Lt. Doty is a graduate of the Walters State Community College Police Academy and holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from East Tennessee State University. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Bethel University. He began his career in law enforcement as a correctional officer for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and joined the BTPD in 2014 as a patrol officer. He transferred to the department’s Criminal Investigations Division in 2016, serving as a detective in the Street Crimes Unit until he was promoted to Patrol Sergeant in 2019. He has served the department in a number of capacities, including Field Training Officer, Certified Defensive Tactics Instructor, and SWAT Team member. 

In their new role as Communications Supervisors, Durham and Hyatt will oversee activities within the City’s dispatch center and assist with administrative duties, including scheduling, equipment maintenance, and compliance issues. 

 Durham began her 30-year career in emergency services in Carter County before joining Tennessee’s Washington County Sheriff’s Office. She joined the BTPD in 2012. Hyatt currently serves as a dispatch trainer within the Communications Division and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree at King University. She joined the BTPD in 2015. Both have served as the department’s liaisons with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. 

For additional information, please contact Chief Austin at (423) 989-5587 or maustin@bristoltn.org.


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