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Law enforcement leaders join ranks

Sara McManamy-Johnson sjohnson@lebanondemocrat.com • Updated Jul 26, 2013 at 10:00 PM

Wilson’s law enforcement agencies are teaming up to honor fallen officers locally and nationally.

“We’re bringing a documentary called ‘Heroes Behind the Badge’ here to Wilson County,” said Corp. David Stolinsky, a detective with Mt. Juliet police.

“Heroes Behind the Badge,” narrated by Emmy-award nominee Vincent D’Onofrio, features real stories of law enforcement officers putting their lives on the line in the name of duty.

The March 22 screening will be one of the first times the film has appeared in the southeastern United States.

“As of right now, we’re the only location in the state of Tennessee that’s doing a screening of the movie,” said Lebanon’s Officer Jay Spicer.

Stolinsky and Spicer spearheaded the screening, which will also include a silent auction, equipment displays and demonstrations and possible guest speakers.

The event will raise funds and awareness for fallen law enforcement officers and their families. Part of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund.

“We currently have nine officers from Wilson County on that memorial [in Washington D.C.],” said Stolinsky.

The remaining proceeds will go to Middle and East Tennessee Concerns of Police Survivors, which helps families of fallen officers with services, such as counseling, summer camps, financial support and more.

“The Mt. Juliet Police Department, the Lebanon Police Department and the Sheriff’s Department have been involved with METNCOPS since 2004, when they came here for their annual picnic in Cedars of Lebanon State Park,” said Stolinsky. “We have been assisting them ever since.”

The departments help families of fallen officers throughout Middle and East Tennessee.

“There’s a process involved in getting a name on the [memorial] wall; there’s a process involved in getting the benefits to the officer’s family when it’s a line-of-duty death,” said Stolinksy.

Each year, members of the departments also go to the memorial in Washington D.C. in May to recognize fallen officers. This year, the families of an officer killed in Memphis and an officer killed in Cleveland, Tenn. will join them on the trip.

The March 22 event will help fund that trip.

“This is probably the biggest thing we’ve ever done,” said Stolinsky.

He and Spicer said part of the reason for the grand scale of this year’s event is to honor the 10-year anniversary of the deaths of Mt. Juliet Sgt. Jerry Mundy and Wilson County Deputy John Musice.

Musice and Mundy were killed on July 9, 2003, while they were attempting to stop a stolen vehicle on Interstate 40 in Mt. Juliet.

“We say it was the most tragic day in the history of law enforcement in Wilson County only because we had never lost two law enforcement officers at the same time in this county,” said Stolinsky.

Sheriff Robert Bryan was with the Sheriff’s Department at the time of Mundy and Musice’s deaths.

“These two officers woke up that morning, put their pants on like every other citizen in this country, the only difference was they had to strap a gun on and get in a patrol car,” said Bryan. “I look at pictures of their children…Their daddy didn’t come home that night…We want the public to know what these officers go through every day.”

Bowen also hopes the film will help the public understand the sacrifices law enforcement officers make.

“This is not an easy job,” said Bowen. “[Officers] understand that every day they get up, they’re blessed to come home, because there are bad people out there.”

Mt. Juliet Chief James Hambrick said the event is already strengthening relationships within the county.

“Not only is [the event] a benefit to the various organizations that need it, I think this – especially with the sheriff and I being newer in our roles as leaders in our agencies – is bringing us closer together,” said Hambrick.

And Hambrick, Bowen, Bryan, Spicer and Stolinsky all agreed that teamwork is part and parcel to Wilson County law enforcement.

“When John and Jerry died, it epitomized what goes on in this county every day,” said Stolinsky. “John worked for the county; Jerry worked for the city – side by side they stood; side by side they took care of what needed to be done.”

The screening will be held at Journey Church, at 212 Leeville Pike. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m., and the screening will start at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the event. Advance tickets are now available at the Lebanon Police Department, the Mt. Juliet Police Department and the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office.

Anyone interested in donating items for auction can call Spicer at 615-566-3535 or Stolinsky at 615-566-9730.

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