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April 2002

Deputy Chief Michael G. Yaniero

City of Bristol (TN) Police Department

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of Deputy Chief of Police Michael G. Yaniero as its Officers of the Month for April 2002. Deputy Chief Yaniero currently serves with City of Bristol (TN) Police Department.

Mike Yaniero knew at the tender age of six, after observing a local officer as he walked his beat that he too wanted to serve the people of his community. This interest never waned and by the time he entered high school he was a member of the town's emergency medial service's lifesaving team. He continued this service throughout his college career and in May 1982 he was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from East Tennessee State University.

Mike Yaniero began his career as a patrolman with the Sullivan County (TN) Sheriff's Department in 1983. Within four short years, in late 1987 he had so impressed his superiors and the community at large, that he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. One citizen who applauded that promotion was Scott Chapman of Blountville, Tennessee. On April 26th, Patrolman Yaniero came upon an accident site in which the driver had lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a glass company storefront. Trapped inside the vehicle, Mr. Chapman was in danger of bleeding to death as a shard of glass had cut through a major artery. Patrolman Yanerio immediately began to apply pressure to the ghastly wound and refused to leave the victim until emergency personnel were able to cut him out of the wreckage. There is little doubt that then Patrolman Yanerio saved Mr. Chapman's life.

With his promotion to Lieutenant, Yaniero became the supervisor of the 18 member criminal investigative division. He was also tasked with chairing the Implementation Committee on the Commission of Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies Process, as well as serving on the Sullivan County's Emergency Preparedness Council. In 1991 he took over command of the department's SWAT team and three years later attended the FBI National Academy at Quanitico, Virginia.

In 1995 Lieutenant Yaniero left the Sullivan County Sheriff's Department and accepted the position of Deputy Police Chief with the Bristol Police Department. Promoted to the rank of Major, Yaniero, began procuring federal and state grants for programs that would benefit the people of Bristol, such as the Highway Safety Program, the School Resource Officer Program and the Gang Resistance, Education and Training (GREAT) Program. He was also able to secure funding for a department-wide computer and crime mapping system.

As a strong proponent of education, Major Yaniero worked endlessly for the development of a Teen Court Program and a reading program for at-risk children in Bristol. He currently supervises and coordinates the activities of the 60 sworn officers and 6 civilian employees and coordinates the multi-jurisdiction force tasked with the protection of the more 140,000 visitors to the near-by Bristol Motor Speedway. His work in community-policing efforts is legendary and he takes great pride in the programs aimed at helping children and teens in his community.

In 1998 Major Yaniero earned a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice from East Tennessee State University, and later acquired additional postgraduate credit from the University of Virginia. He is a member of the Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society in Criminology and serves as an Adjunct Criminal Justice Instructor at East Tennessee University and has been a diplomat with the American College of Forensic Examiners since 1998. He has graduated from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) Senior Management Institute, FBI LEEDS, and Penn State's Advance Police Executive Development (POLEX) program. Major Yaniero is certified paramedic and an EMT and National Fire Academy's Incident Command Instructor.

Deputy Chief Yaniero's awards are numerous and honor his selfless efforts to help the citizens of Bristol. In testimony to his extraordinary career, in 2000 he became one of the first law enforcement officers in the country to receive the FBI Director's Community Service Leadership Award. That same year, Tennessee State Representative Steve Godsey, commended Major Yaniero stating, "Deputy Chief Yaniero's unmatched commitment to the community, analytical, and organizational abilities and reliability combine to make him an invaluable asset to the police force."

Major Yaniero's community activities are the sum of the parts of a law enforcement officer making a difference, one day at a time, one youth at a time. Sheriff Jack Weisenberger, of the City of Bristol Virginia, and a colleague of 30 years, says of Mike, "He epitomizes the standards and values of what law enforcement officers should be about." Major Yaniero and his wife Fay are the proud parents of two children, Rachel, 14, and Jacob, 10. He says his most difficult role is as soccer coach to his son's team.