Officer Daniel Paidousis, Knoxville (Tenn.) PD
Not everyone can multi-task, but Officer Daniel Paidousis of the Knoxville (Tenn.) Police Department has a knack for it. He finds time to solve crimes and respond to citizen complaints in between calls for service.
In fact, while he was on a plainclothes detail, he recognized a woman he'd seen in a video still, leading investigators to the murderer of an elderly man. For his investigative skills, Paidousis has been named the September 2010 Officer of the Month by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Paidousis was working a special plainclothes assignment in an unmarked car in hopes of catching a car burglar. Ever vigilant, the patrol officer recognized a murder suspect walking down the street.
In June 2008, 77-year-old Hugh Patterson saw a woman at a market and invited her to his home. When he refused her demand of $40 for sex, she forcibly took his wallet and a struggle ensued. The woman pushed the man to the ground, breaking his wrist and hip, then fled. Patterson was able to reach a phone to call police and report the incident. But he died later that month from his injuries.
Two women were then caught on camera appearing to use one of Patterson's credit cards at a department store. Investigator Steve Still in the homicide division circulated still photos from the video. Officer Paidousis had seen the photos and was helping to investigate the case when he had time. This was how he recognized one of the women believed to be related to the case.
The woman had on the same clothes she had been wearing in the video, so he was fairly sure it was her. Paidousis approached the woman and identified himself as an officer. He then called Investigator Still to discuss this development in the case.
"We transported her to the detective bureau where she was Mirandized and gave a statement that it was indeed her in the photo and that was her sister with her," says Paidousis.
This break in the case led investigators to the woman's sister, Patricia McMillan, 51. She was indicted on charges of felony murder and especially aggravated robbery.