The new commander of the Tennessee Highway Patrol was the guest on a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with Col. Dereck Stewart first aired June 19 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and online at www.wmot.org. You can listen to their conversation above.
Stewart, an MTSU alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies, assumed control of the THP June 1. He is the first African-American to head the agency.
The McKenzie, Tennessee, native began his career in 1987 as a road trooper in Montgomery County and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 2011, spending the last seven years directing the THP’s daily operations.
At various times in his 31-year tenure with the state Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Stewart oversaw the THP’s Field Operations Bureau, the Support Services Bureau and the Department of Safety’s Research, Planning and Development Division.
He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association, the Executive Leadership Institute, the FBI National Executive Institute and Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command.
Stewart said his priority is policing Tennessee’s highways and cracking down on drunken, drugged and distracted driving. He said he is grateful for 37 new field operations positions authorized by Gov. Bill Haslam.
“We have about 921 authorized positions within the state,” Stewart said. “We’re currently staffed somewhere about 860. We have probably maybe 650 or so (Tennessee state troopers) that work the roads every day.”
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.
For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.