National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund Announces March 2023 Officers of the Month

Officers intervened and stopped an active shooter inside a school

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) today announced Sergeant Jeff Mathes, Detectives Zachary Plese, Ryan Cagle, Michael Collazo, and Officer Rex Engelbert of the Metropolitan Nashville (TN) Police Department as their Officers of the Month for March 2023. These officers were selected for their bravery and heroism following an active shooter at an elementary school.

On March 27, 2023, just after 10am, 911 operators began receiving calls about an active shooter inside a private elementary school just south of downtown Nashville, TN. Officers from around the area rapidly converged on the scene. Within minutes of the initial call, Sergeant Mathes, Detectives Plese, Cable, Collazo, and Officer Engelbert arrived at the school, and immediately made entry. They wasted no time in finding and ultimately shooting the woman who was still actively firing through a window at arriving police cars.

Three children and three adults were all fatally wounded by the shooter. While the loss of life was incredibly tragic, there is no question that the rapid and professional response by Nashville police officers prevented even further loss of life. This incident serves to highlight how essential it is to have law enforcement professionals ready and willing to intervene when chaos and violence erupt in our communities.

“These officers exemplify the very best of the law enforcement profession. There is no question that through their ability to run towards the danger and selflessly place themselves in harms way, they saved lives that day in Nashville,” said Marcia Ferranto, CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. “We are humbled and proud to honor Sergeant Jeff Mathes, Detectives Zachary Plese, Ryan Cagle, Michael Collazo, and Officer Rex Engelbert as our Officers of the Month for March 2023.”

Police Unity TourThe Officer of the Month Award Program is sponsored by the Police Unity Tour and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.