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Position Announcement 

Knoxville Police Department
Knoxville, Tennessee 

Chief of Police

Application Deadline: Sunday, February 20, 2022

The City of Knoxville is seeking highly qualified applicants for the position of Chief of Police. Ideal candidates will have a proven leadership record with significant experience in building and sustaining community trust, driving continuous improvement in operational capabilities, and championing data-informed strategies to meaningfully address and decrease crime and improve community safety and health. Candidates will be able to demonstrate a commitment to transparency, accountability, and fairness, both internally and to the broader community. 

Knoxville is a dynamic and diverse community of over 190,000 residents within 104 square miles, and the city serves as a core to a greater metropolitan area of nearly 900,000 people. 

It is a forward-thinking, friendly, and rapidly growing city. Founded in 1791 where the French Broad, and Holston Rivers converge to form the Tennessee River, Knoxville is the largest city in East Tennessee and the third-largest city in the state. It is located in a broad valley between the Cumberland Mountains to the northwest and the Great Smoky Mountains to the southeast. These two mountain ranges help provide a moderate, four-season climate. Three interstates run through Knoxville, which is an easy drive to Atlanta to the south, Nashville to the west and Asheville to the east.

The city is proud of its diversity and has a vibrant cultural scene that includes local theatre, music, art, dining, and major events and festivals. Some of the most visited areas include Downtown Knoxville and its iconic Market Square and Old City, attractions including Zoo Knoxville, numerous museums, event and sporting venues, and shopping destinations. Knoxville has an international reputation as an outdoor adventure destination, with many miles of biking, hiking, kayaking, and walking trails as well as beautiful and plentiful parks, lakes, and waterways.

Knoxville is home to several universities and colleges, trade schools, and adult education programs. The University of Tennessee, the State’s flagship campus, lies in the city’s core, and many residents are proud supporters of the University of Tennessee Volunteers, OneKnox Soccer Club, the Knoxville Ice Bears, and the Knoxville Smokies minor league baseball team, which will soon play in a new downtown Knoxville stadium. 

Knoxville has a “strong mayor” form of government, and the police chief is appointed by, and reports directly to, the mayor. Mayor Indya Kincannon (sworn in on Dec. 19, 2019) has made public safety a top priority and stands ready to support new departmental leadership. 

The Knoxville Police Department has a total of 521 full-time employees and four part-time employees. A total of 416 sworn officers are authorized within the department. 

The City of Knoxville is in the process of completing a work and pay equity study for all positions, with a commitment to pursue competitive pay and benefits, including for frontline policing positions. While KPD is currently operating under the authorized strength, the department prioritizes recruitment, seeking to refill vacancies by running two academy classes per year, and a lateral entry program for experienced police officers from other jurisdictions. 

The current fiscal year budget for the police department is $81,285,000. In recent years, the city has committed significant investments in public safety including a comprehensive compensation study, the latest body worn camera technology, a new officer health and wellness program, a real time intelligence center and a $70M public safety complex that will serve as the new headquarters for the department in the summer of 2022. 

In addition, the city is working diligently to grow new programs and partnerships that are supportive of both officer and community safety, including supporting street-level violence interrupters, growing a multi-partner behavioral health urgent care (BHUC) program, and expanding a co-response program wherein a mental healthcare provider is paired with a patrol officer for response to specific incidents. The Chief should support and contribute to the success of these programs and other innovative practices. 

The city is looking for a proven leader who is committed to professional, community-focused, and transparent policing, and who has demonstrated experience implementing 21st Century policing principles. The successful candidate will have exceptional management and communication skills to lead the men and women of the Knoxville Police Department. They will have the ability to enthusiastically build relationships and communicate and collaborate with all the diverse groups that make up the Knoxville community. 

Most importantly, the Chief of Police must promote integrity and confidence in the administration of policing services to the entire community of Knoxville. The ideal candidate will be able to provide inspiring leadership to the officers, demonstrate success promoting a policing culture of service and accountability to the community, and develop data-driven and evidence-based solutions to public safety problems. 

The Chief of Police will have the capacity to celebrate the successes of the organization and its people, while conveying a commitment to internal accountability at all levels. The successful candidate will be able to communicate and be visible in a way that inspires public trust and support for the police. 

Other key areas of emphasis by the next chief of police will include: 

• Identifying ways to attract, recruit, and retain high-quality police officers for the Knoxville Police Department who reflect the diversity of the community.

• Promoting and sustaining a process for supporting emerging leaders in the department who embrace and reflect the core principles of community policing service, including mentoring and leadership development opportunities to develop the future senior officers of the department.

• Building partnerships and collaborating with community-based and other organizations who can support public safety objectives in ways that complement law-enforcement functions and responses.  

• Serving as a champion for change where change is supported by evidence, and in close consultation with the community.

• An understanding of and commitment to the recommendations contained in the Final Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and the Police Executive Research Forum’s Guiding Principles On Use of Force

Establishing residency inside the city limits will be a requirement for any successful candidate, as it is a tangible reflection of a commitment to the community. 

The position requires a four-year college degree. Essential prerequisites for this position will be a record of progressively responsible command-level experience at policing in an urban setting, along with a proven record of implementing best practices. A graduate-level degree would be an asset, and the successful candidate must have a demonstrated commitment to life-long learning with a genuine curiosity and interest in innovation. Successful completion of specialized police leadership education, such as the Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP), FBI National Academy, or the Southern Police Institute, is highly desired for this position. Candidates not P.O.S.T. certified in Tennessee must achieve certification within 6 months of starting in the position by completing a modified program. 

The salary range for this position is $170,000 to $200,000 per year, commensurate with skills and experience. The City of Knoxville offers a competitive package of fringe and health benefits. Relocation expenses would be considered. 

Qualified and interested candidates should apply by Sunday, February 20, 2022, with a cover letter, resumé, and a list of five references in confidence to:

The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) is assisting the City of Knoxville with the selection process. Please contact Rebecca Neuburger at (202) 997-6287 [email protected] or Terry Chowanec at (301) 448-9858 [email protected] with questions. 

Knoxville is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.