In Memory of Deputy Sheriff Teresa H. Fuller
On Thursday, September 30, 2021, Tennessee officials sadly announced that a local school resource officer had died due to COVID19. Deputy Sheriff Teresa H. Fuller, badge number 879, passed away due to complications of the virus. Fuller was 55 years old.
COVID19 has become the number one line of duty death for law enforcement officers in the past year. More than 220 officers have passed from the deadly virus since January 2021. Unfortunately, in the case of Fuller, the US is now seeing more school resource officers who are dying from the virus. These losses impact not only their families but also the children who Fuller and other resource officers touch. These officers are the ones who befriend, mentor, and show leadership to youth.
Through contact tracing, it was determined that Fuller contracted the virus while on the job. Her most recent assignment was as a school resource officer at the Rutland Elementary School in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. Fuller had served her community as a law enforcement officer with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office for over 14 years. She loved working with animals and was often referred to as “a real cowgirl.”
Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee
Fuller chose to serve her community with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office. The WCSO provides law enforcement services to nearly 148,000 residents. Sheriff’s offices generally serve the nonincorporated areas of the county. The headquarters for the WCSO is in Lebanon, Tennessee, which is the county seat. Mt. Juliet, where Fuller had been providing services, is the largest city in the county.
The WCSO, according to Tennessee state statutes, must provide “law enforcement, administration of the Jail, Superintendent of the Work House, and security of the Courts.” The mandate includes the responsibilities of the office which include, “prevention and investigation of crimes on persons and property, service of civil and criminal warrants, and patrolling of county and state roadways.” WCSO has a jurisdiction that covers 583 square miles of land and 12 square miles of waterways. WCSO employs 265 sworn officers in its department.
Deputy Sheriff Teresa H. Fuller leaves behind her husband and child. It will take the love of the community to embrace the Fuller family and help them get through this challenging time in their lives. Area honor guards will perform services to ensure that Fuller is laid to rest with honors.
Rutland Principal Shaunna Davis shared her thoughts about Fuller and her impact on her school. “Officer Teresa loved this school fiercely. She was proactive in ensuring the safety of our students and staff. But, most importantly, she immersed herself in the Rutland community. Officer Teresa used her passion to impact our school by bringing her therapy animals. It wasn’t uncommon to see Officer Teresa in the library reading a book to students with the assistance of her miniature therapy horse, Ruger. She would also bring her therapy dog, Darla, to help spread joy to our staff and students or provide some calm during stressful times.”
Wilson County Schools Director Jeff Luttrell was devastated by the loss of someone so important to their school system. “Our hearts are very heavy to learn about the passing of Wilson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy/SRO Teresa Fuller. She was impactful in so many ways to Rutland’s students, teachers, staff, and community. She loved kids with all of her heart and would do anything to protect them, and they absolutely loved her. She would always greet them with a smile and be interactive with them throughout any given school day. She just had a heart of gold, and she’ll be missed by so many. We send our most sincere thoughts and prayers to her family during this time.”