Two long-time members of the Bristol Tennessee Police Department have moved up the ranks from lieutenant to captain, filling the final two vacancies in the senior command staff that Chief Matt Austin has been building since he was appointed to the department’s leadership role in July.
Brian Hess has been named Captain of Support Service and Dannielle Eller will now serve as Captain of the Criminal Investigations Division (CID). The positions became vacant when Walter Brown was named Major of Administration following the retirement of Tim Eads and Terry L. Johnson was promoted to Major of Operations, filling Chief Austin’s former position. Chief Austin said the department’s promotional process is “extremely competitive,” adding that the two new captains performed well on both written exams and oral interviews and have the diverse experience needed to be successful in their new roles.
Capt. Hess joined the BTPD in 2002 after a six-year career with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office. He has served as a K-9 officer, detective, field training officer, firearms instructor, and a Smith & Wesson armorer. In 2007, he completed a stint as a K-9 handler for the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) during Operation Iraqi Freedom. A 2009 graduate of the Hazardous Device School in Huntsville, Ala., he completed a long list of active shooter and explosives training and has served as a member of the SWAT Team and Bomb Squad. He is a certified Civilian Response to an Active Shooter Event (CRASE) instructor, a certified ALICE Active Shooter instructor, and has twice been named the BTPD’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. Capt. Hess holds a bachelor’s degree in Emergency Management from Bethel University and is a 2021 graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command.
Capt. Eller joined the department in 2005 as a patrol officer and was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division in 2011. She has served as the lead investigator of both child abuse and elder abuse cases and is a certified Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) instructor. She hold a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Old Dominion University, and is a graduate of the University of Tennessee’s National Forensic Academy and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations Child Safety Training Academy. She also has completed a number of courses in leadership, supervision, and municipal management through the University of Tennessee’s Law Enforcement Innovation Center.
For additional information, please contact Police Chief Matt Austin at (423) 989-5587.