Former WKUPD student explorer reflects on relationship with killed Nashville police officer

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – It’s a sad day when a police officer is killed in the line of duty.

“It’s very tough for the entire police department,” said Don Aaron, Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman.

What makes handling the reality of the situation that much harder is knowing the impact the fallen officer had on everyone he met.

That’s the case with Nashville police officer and former Western Kentucky University student John Anderson who was killed on the Fourth of July.

“It goes without saying that when we lose an officer, to every man and woman out on the street, it’s like losing a brother or sister,” said Nashville Chief of Police Steve Anderson.

On Thursday around 3 a.m., Nashville police say a 17-year-old girl sped off after an officer attempted to pull her over.

After she drove away, officials said she hit a parked police vehicle – Anderson’s.

Anderson’s police cruiser spun out of control, hit a utility pole and caught on fire, killing the four-year veteran in the process.

“It’s just horrible,” Nashville Mayor David Briley said. “I don’t know what else to say other than that. Officer Anderson and his family are in our thoughts and our prayers go out to them.”

“Other officers that worked around him, even those that don’t know him, are obviously very disturbed,” added Anderson, who had no blood-relation to the deceased officer.

Someone who had a close working relationship with Anderson during his time on the Hill was Kayela West.

West and Anderson both were student explorers with the WKU Police Department, often covering the same shifts and assignments.

It’s a tough reality to accept, West said.

“We would go check all the buildings and the dorms, and we would ride off on everything if there was an incident,” she added. “It feels like just yesterday that we were all together.”

The WKU Police Department also offered their condolences to Anderson’s family with a tweet posted on Thursday in response to the news of the officer’s death.

Anderson also served as a corporal in the United States Marine Corps and as a park ranger for the Bowling Green Parks and Rec department.

West said that Anderson always knew what he wanted to do, what goals he wanted to reach.

One of those goals was to be able to better serve his community in whatever manner her could due to his passion for helping people in need.

“He was a very personable person,” said West. “He wanted to know ‘are you really OK, or is there anything I can do for you.’ He would’ve made a great detective one day, and I know he would’ve been a great father, too, if he had had the chance to watch his son grow up.”

Anderson will be missed by all who knew him, she said.

On Friday, Mayor Briley ordered all flags to be flown at half staff in honor of Anderson.

The Nashville Police Department also released the details for Anderson’s funeral.