Eric Mullins received the 2009 Virginia Sheriffs’ Association Deputy of the Year award at the 76th annual Virginia Sheriffs’ Association Conference on Tuesday, September 15, 2009 in Norfolk.
Eric Mullins started his career with the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office in October 2004 in the patrol division and since then we have characterized him as being an invaluable asset in what we stand for as a sheriff’s office. Professionalism, integrity, courage, dependability, commitment, and his efficient performance are just a small sample of the areas that he has excelled in. While in the patrol division, he not only resolved many conflicts and handled difficult situations with remarkable patience and admirable tact, he then was assigned the responsibility of maintaining and serving criminal warrants. Due to Eric’s superior performance in not only performing the tasks given to him but acting as a role model to his fellow co-workers, he was awarded the well deserved title of corporal in January 2008.
On September 14, 2006, he and fellow deputy Ronnie Alley were dispatched to a residence where the caller advised that her nephew was destroying her house and threatening the lives of everyone inside the home. The caller stated that she and other family members barricaded themselves in a room, and he was trying to break the door down. The subject then left the home and ran a vehicle into a mobile home. When the deputies arrived, the subject exited his vehicle and advanced toward both of the deputies, swinging a machete. The deputies ordered the subject to stop, but he ignored their demands and continued to advance in a threatening manner. Through their instincts and teamwork, Alley, backed up by Mullins, shot the subject, eliminating not only the deadly threat to themselves and the citizens in the immediate area, but to those who may have potentially crossed his path, had it not been for the quick reactions from Eric and his fellow deputy. Eric has put duty above self many times, and he has made the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office extremely proud of his courageous actions by risking his own life to save the lives of others and to keep the community of Tazewell County safe.
Eric was faced with another life threatening situation while on routine patrol on the early morning of October 19, 2007. Eric heard a BOLO that fit the description of a vehicle occupied by three suspects who were involved in two armed robberies that had occurred earlier that morning. Eric followed the vehicle and proceeded to initiate a traffic stop. Eric exited his police cruiser and walked up to the driver side window and asked for a driver’s license. After the driver indicated that he did not have a license, Eric requested him to stay there and he went back to his police cruiser to call for backup. After backup arrived, Eric exited his vehicle and proceeded to the driver’s side window.
At that time, the driver pointed a pistol out of the window, shot Mullins twice, and left him lying in the road while they fled the scene. He was shot once in the lower right abdomen, which was fortunately stopped by his bullet-proof vest. The second shot struck him in his right hand. Eric was subsequently taken to an area hospital where he was treated and released with minor injuries.
Everyday deputies put their life on the line, not only for citizens of the community they know, but for complete strangers. The value of his extraordinary bravery to perform the highest level of community service cannot be overstated. No one can possibly understand the physical and mental pain that Eric has endured due to these life threatening events, but Eric didn’t let a stranger take away his passion to protect and serve the community of Tazewell County. He immediately got back on his feet, and patrolled the streets to the best of his ability. Corporal Mullins has since been justifiably promoted to detective.