"This great effort by Officer Paidousis was performed while he continued to conduct his normal patrol duties on his beat in addition to his neighborhood liaison officer duties," said Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen.
Paidousis doesn't like to take full credit for McMillan's arrest, however. He was part of a larger investigation that was ultimately successful because everyone shared information and worked together so well.
"Communication is the key," says Paidousis. "It's essential. Communication between your detective bureau and your patrol division is of the utmost importance in dealing with these kinds of crimes."
The officer takes this lesson to heart when interacting with the community, as well. As a neighborhood liaison officer, Paidousis makes a habit of getting to know the people on his beat and speaking with them regularly. It helps establish trust on both sides and leaves people more open to sharing information related to crimes.
"It takes it a step further than just being a policeman on the beat when they feel that they've got a personal connection with you," says Paidousis. "They feel like they can talk to you. So I'd say it's beneficial to me and to them."
On individual calls, as well, Paidousis strives to spend as much time as needed talking to those involved, even if it's a simple complaint. One older man who had grown up in the city was upset that several residences near his home had been vacated and were becoming magnets for criminal activity. One in particular had all the trademark signs of drug dealing on the premises.
Paidousis patiently listened to the man's complaints. He then took the time to follow up and address all of his concerns. In the end, the city had the abandoned houses condemned and razed, and the police made an arrest at the house where the drug dealers were living, which led to all of them leaving the residence. Ever since, the complainant has been an extremely vocal fan of both Paidousis in particular, and the Knoxville Police Department in general.
It's tough to slow down when there are so many calls for service, and even more difficult to find time to investigate other crimes in between calls. But the 20-year law enforcement veteran believes it's worth it. He also believes it's possible as long as you prioritize your tasks. His approach has led to many arrests and even more happy citizens in Knoxville.
"Just take time. Just listen to what people are telling you. Listen to their concerns," says Paidousis. "Sometimes you're able to make a difference, sometimes you're not. But small changes mean a lot to some people."
Find out more about the POLICE Magazine sponsored NLEOMF Officer of the Month Program.
See video of the September 2009 NLEOMF Officers of the Month