Veteran officer Cindy Huffines’ determination to not let colon cancer end the law enforcement career she loves will be honored Thursday with the 2012 Theodore Roosevelt Police Award for Nashville and Middle Tennessee.
The Theodore Roosevelt Association Police Award is given to an officer who has rendered outstanding and praiseworthy service to the department and the community despite a serious handicap, illness, or injury.
Since her graduation from the training academy in 1993, Huffines, a Russellville native, worked almost exclusively as a bicycle officer in the inner city and public housing. She honed her skills of community policing and earned the trust of families in the neighborhoods she served. Huffines received a number of awards for her outstanding work.
In the late fall of 2007, Huffines’ body began showing alarming symptoms of ill health. Her doctor suggested that she have a colonoscopy just to be safe. With the holidays approaching, and with her already planned volunteer work with the police department’s Christmas Basket Program for the needy, Huffines put off the procedure until February. Ultimately, the worst was confirmed. Cindy Huffines had cancer, a disease that also claimed the lives of her father, cousin and great uncle.
Huffines made the decision to put her trust in God’s will and never looked back. She endured 25 rounds of radiation and five rounds of chemotherapy. She experienced excruciating pain daily for at least a year. During the treatments, she continued to work a desk assignment at the police department. This allowed her to take some of the focus off her pain and illness.
After a long recovery, Huffines returned to active duty at the Central Precinct as a Flex officer. She knows that being “cancer free” will always be a year to year status for her, but with the support of her family, friends and co-workers, Huffines truly believes that she can tackle anything that comes her way.
“Cindy has dedicated her professional career to serving families in some of Nashville’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods,” Chief Steve Anderson said. “I am exceptionally proud of her work and determination to stay on the job despite her very serious and now winning battle with cancer.”
The Theodore Roosevelt Association established the police awards program in honor of Roosevelt’s distinguished service as President of the Board of Police Commissioners of New York City from 1895 to 1897, and in recognition of his lifelong admiration for the police.
Nashville is one of several cities in the United States to present the Roosevelt Award. Others include New York City, Buffalo and upstate New York, Boston, Long Island, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.
“The Metro Police Department is most grateful to the Theodore Roosevelt Association for recognizing truly outstanding public servants, like Cindy Huffines, and their contributions to Nashville,” Chief Anderson said.
Through the generosity of the Theodore Roosevelt Association, Huffines will receive a $1,000 cash award, a medal, and a bust of Theodore Roosevelt. A bronze plaque, which bears a likeness of Roosevelt, and which is currently on display in the lobby of police headquarters, will now include the inscription of Huffines’ name.
Past Metro Police recipients of the Theodore Roosevelt Award were Sgt. Phillip Sage (1998), Detective Clifford Mann (1999), Detective Frank Pierce (2000), Sergeant James (Jimbo) Allen (2001), Officer William Richardson (2002), Detective Joe Cooper (2003), Officer Horace Temple (2004), Officer Foster Hite (2005), Detective Jeff Ball (2006), Officer Dan Alford (2007), Sergeant Brenda Steinbrecher (2008), Officer James Duke (2009), Officer Faye Okert (2010) and Lieutenant Joe McEwen (2011).