Knoxville police chief promotes 20 officers, reorganizes department’s structure

The most significant change to the department’s organizational structure, included the re-establishment of the Central District, which will increase the number of police districts from two to three.
The Knoxville Police Department chief is making changes; over 20 officers were recently promoted, and the department’s structure has been reorganized, according
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 10:31 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Knoxville Police Department chief is making changes; over 20 officers were recently promoted, and the department’s structure has been reorganized, according to a release.

Chief of Police Paul Noel announced the promotions as well as the reorganization during a ceremony held at the Civic Coliseum Auditorium Monday evening.

Solidifying his command staff, Chief Noel announced that Susan Coker and David Powell were promoted as Deputy Chief. Coker has been with the department for 26 years and most recently served as a Patrol Captian over the East District, officials said.

Powell has been with the department for 24 years and most recently spent the past ten months as the Acting Deputy Chief of the Management Services Division.

“I had a lot of options to fill our two vacant Deputy Chief positions, and I went into that process with an open mind,” Noel said. “As I evaluated our organization over the past three months, it became apparent that there were many outstanding and talented leaders within this Department. Susan and David are two of those individuals. Both are greatly respected by their colleagues and have a track record of leading with integrity. I have no doubt that they will help push our organization forward.”

Lieutenants Nevin Long, Ryan Morrow, Sammy Shaffer, and Steve Still were promoted to Captain and will join the command staff, according to an announcement.

Officials said Long has served with KPD since 2002 and was most recently the Lieutenant over the Special Crimes Unit. Morrow began his KPD career in 1996 and recently served as Lieutenant over the Violent Crimes Unit.

Shaffer is a 21-year veteran of the KPD who most recently served as the Department’s Training Director, Chief Noel stated.

“I am ecstatic to bring Nevin, Ryan, Sammy and Steve into the fold as members of the Command Staff,” Noel said. “They bring a wide and diverse range of collective experience, and all four have proven that they are entirely committed to our mission as a Department. I am confident that they will add significant value as members of my Command Staff.”

Chief Noel also promoted veteran officers Chris Bell, Brian Bumpus, Rick Eastridge, Jeremy Maupin, Adam Minner and Mike Perry to Lieutenant. In addition, Amy Boyd, Cody Fritz, Nelson Hamilton, Andrew Markham, Dusty Miller, Dean Ray, Brandon Wardlaw and Greg Womac were promoted to Sergeant.

There were also several large changes to KPD’s departmental structure, with the most significant being the re-establishment of the Central District, which totals three police districts in the city. Chief Noel said the Central District would encompass Downtown Knoxville, the area surrounding the University of Tennessee campus, and South Knoxville.

“This isn’t change for the sake of change. There is real purpose and intentionality behind this,” Chief Noel said. “Adding a third district allows our officers to reduce their area of focus, more narrowly direct their efforts, be more proactive and directly engage with the community on a day-to-day basis to solve the specific public safety problems that impact each area of town.”

In addition to the departmental changes, Chief Noel announced that several previously centralized units would be divided up among the individual districts, including the Traffic Services Unit. The change includes the Inspections and Community Outreach Units, expanding roles as Community Partnership Officers.

“I want to empower our district commanders and give them the resources that they need to solve problems within their district, and this change will facilitate that,” Noel said. “Whether it is a business that is experiencing an ongoing problem, a traffic complaint or specific concerns from neighborhood residents, our district commanders will have the personnel that they need to solve those problems as they arise.”

Moving forward, Mark Fortner will remain Chief Noel’s second in command as the Department’s Assistant Chief, a release stated. Deputy Chief Susan Coker will command the Investigations Bureau, and Captain Ryan Morrow will manage the Violent Crime, Property Crime and Forensics Units, officials said.

“It was important to me that to every extent possible the existing Command Staff members were moved into different assignments,” Noel said. “I wanted everyone to have a fresh start and give our senior leadership team the opportunity to diversify their experience. This will also allow our senior leaders to apply their existing expertise and skills to enhance and positively impact the division under their command.”

The Field Operations Bureau will be led by Deputy Chief Cindy Gass, who shifted into Field Operations recently. Captains Tony Willis, Sammy Shaffer and Nevin Long will serve as district commanders in the West, Central and East Districts, Chief Noel announced.

“The name Patrol really minimizes the wide variety of assignments within the Division and all of the things that the Division’s personnel does on a day-to-day basis,” Noel said. “We wanted the name to more clearly reflect everything that falls under its umbrella and felt that Field Operations accomplishes that,” Noel said.

Captain Steve Still will remain the commander of the Internal Affairs Unit, Chief Noel confirmed.

“The Internal Affairs Unit is directly involved in the constant evaluation of our policies, procedures and operations,” Noel said. “It’s imperative for us to have a command level supervisor leading that unit so that IAU has a voice in the decision-making process.”

The Command Staff members will assume their new assignments immediately, officials said. The newly-promoted Sergeants and Lieutenants will step into their new roles and positions on October 23.

“This has been in the works since my first day here, and I am thrilled to launch this reorganization with our senior leadership team in place,” Chief Noel said. “These changes have been made very deliberately with the purpose of enhancing our operations, re-imagining how we deliver our services and allowing us to be more effective in our primary mission of reducing crime and solving problems in neighborhoods.”

Chief of Police Paul Noel announced the promotion of 20 Knoxville Police Department officers...
Chief of Police Paul Noel announced the promotion of 20 Knoxville Police Department officers Monday.(KPD)