Nashville’s newest class of police officers includes one of the most decorated combat veterans from Fort Campbell. Officer Felipe Pereira received the Distinguished Service Cross last year.
Pereira was the first member of the 101st Airborne Division to be pinned with the wartime medal since Vietnam. He saved at least two comrades in Afghanistan after a suicide bomber detonated in the middle of his squad. He commandeered an all-terrain vehicle under fire to ferry the wounded to safety while he himself had a lung collapsing and shrapnel in his leg.
“I mean, I can barely take a breath. My leg is going numb. I can barely press the gas. But we did what we could do.”
It’s been a while since another Distinguished Service Cross recipient worked for the department. Nashville’s first police chief when the city and county consolidated 50 years ago won the honor during World War II.
The class of police recruits that graduated this week is the largest in 40 years. Eighty officers finished the training.