Fallen Officers of the Knox County Sheriff's Office

Angela Payne head shot

Officer Angela Payne

Officer Angela Payne was responding to a call of a shooting in Northwest Knox County on February 26, 2000 just before 2:00 a.m. when she was struck by a motorist while standing in the road confronting a suspect.  Angela Payne never regained consciousness and died from her injuries that same day.  Payne, who was 31 years old had been with the Sheriff’s Department since 1997 and was a 1998 graduate of the Sheriff’s Regional Law Enforcement Training Academy.  She had become a Patrol Officer in 1999.

Highling of Officer Payne with other recruits
Angela Payne in uniform

Chief Keith Lyon

Chief Deputy Keith Lyon served the Knox County Sheriff’s office for 18 years before he was killed on May 9, 2006 in an automobile accident on Schaad Road when another vehicle crossed the center line and struck his department SUV head-on. Tim Hutchison, the Sheriff at the time of the incident, stated that “Chief Lyon was a dedicated worker and personal friend and will a great loss for the department. It’s very hard even though we are a large agency and have 1,000 employees. Everyone is fairly close. We work together and have worked together for along time.” There are very few places inside The Sheriff’s Office where you aren’t reminded of Unit 7 and his lasting impact on the Agency. Chief Keith Lyon would be proud of many things here, most importantly his Brother Chief Deputy Bernie Lyon and his Brother Chaplain Lee Lyon.

Chief Keith Lyon smiling on phone
Highlight of Keith Lyon's name on memorial wall
K9 sitting next to Keith Lyon's tombstone with badge background
LT McCulley standing and looking at camera

Lieutenant Steve McCulley

Just shortly after noon on Tuesday, February 16, 1999, forty-seven year old Lt. Steve McCulley was in uniform and on his way to report to work for the afternoon shift.  Lt. McCulley had just left his home in the nearby Brixworth subdivision in Farragut when he suddenly changed course and headed toward the Taylor’s Landing subdivision.  It is theorized that he saw something suspicious and turned around to investigate.  As he crossed the railroad tracks, a Norfolk Southern train struck his police vehicle.  After being transported by Lifestar helicopter, Lt. McCulley later died at The University of Tennessee Medical Center.

Lt. McCulley was a 21-year veteran of the Knox County Sheriff’s Department, beginning his career on April 5, 1978.  He was promoted to Sergeant in 1989 and to Lieutenant in 1992.  He was one of the original S.W.A.T. Team members and served on the team for 15 years.  During his career he received many awards and commendations.  He received “Officer of the Year” for 1995 and 1998.  The I.R.S. gave Lt. McCulley a commendation in 1990 for a case that he assisted the agency with.  He was actively involved in amateur athletics, umpiring in recreational and collegiate leagues.

Highligh of James McCulley at SWAT training
LT. McCulley memory plaque

Detective James Kennedy

On the night of March 26, 1984 Detective James Kennedy and Detective Larry Johnson were investigating a report of a stolen vehicle at a West Knox County motel.  While interviewing one individual in the room, a second individual appeared from behind the door and began to struggle with the detectives.  Detective Johnson was able to pull the first individual out of the room and to safety but Detective Kennedy was shot multiple times and died at approximately 12:15 a.m. on March 27, 1984.

Detective Kennedy was a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C. and received his police training at the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy in Fairfax County, Virginia.  He served as a patrolman for the Fairfax County Police Dempartment for four years and joined the Knox County Sheriff’s Office in 1982.  He was known as a dedicated officer who exemplified the high standards of law enforcement.  He was survived by his wife Claudia.

Detective Kennedy
Deputy Kennedy standing behind his open cruiser door
Deputy Kennedy's wife penciling his name onto paper from memorial wall
Highlight of James Kennedy's name on memorial wall

Never Forgotten

If you would like to recognize any of these fine officers or others, please feel free to contact us

KCSO shoulder patch with lighted candle
Officer Sandy Romines smiling at camera

Thanks to Officer Romines!

We would like to show our appreciation to Officer Sandy Romines who spent many hours of her personal time conducting research for this Officer Memorial and KCSO History.  Officer Romines also took the initiative to take the information she gathered and create the video above.  Thank you, Officer Romines!

Sheriff Tom Spangler

Knox County Sheriff's Office

Knoxville, TN

Tom Spangler, Sheriff