Eve Thomas named new Knoxville Police Chief

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- City of Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero has appointed Eve Thomas as the new police chief for the Knoxville Police Department to succeed current chief David Rausch.

Rogero made the announcement Thursday afternoon at the City County Building.

“I am thrilled to make this appointment. In personal conversations with the four Deputy Chiefs of the Police Department, as well as conversations with rank and file officers and senior staff at KPD, Chief Thomas emerged as an outstanding choice to assume command of the department,” Mayor Rogero said. “During her 25 years of service to KPD, she has consistently shown leadership, dedication, thoughtfulness and commitment to public service."

City officials said after the announcement, the new chief will be sworn in at Rogero's office.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity that the Mayor has given me by allowing me to continue serving the men and women of the Knoxville Police Department and the citizens of the City of Knoxville in this new capacity,” Thomas told WVLT News. “I am forever indebted to those leaders, both formal and informal, who throughout my career have provided me opportunities for learning and growth."

The mayor's search for a new police chief started after Governor Bill Haslam appointed David Rausch to the position of director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Prior to the announcement, Rogero met with four deputy chiefs for the Knoxville Police Department. The mayor heard insights on the department from Cindy Gass, Gary Holliday, Kenny Miller and Eve Thomas.

Eve Thomas began her career at KPD in 1993. She has served in several capacities including Field Training Officer, Recruitment Coordinator, Traffic Accident Reconstructionist, Police Driving Instructor, and she worked in the department's accreditation unit.

When she was promoted to Sergeant, Thomas was certified as a Commission of Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) Assessor, and she attended the inaugural class of the Southeastern Command and Leadership Academy (SECLA). She served as Patrol Sergeant, Personnel Sergeant and Accreditation Manager.

In 2005, Thomas was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned as the Special Operations Supervisor, wherein she was responsible for the department's specialty units, like the Crisis Negotiation Unit, Special Operations Squad, K9 Unit, Inspections Detail, Search and Recovery Team, Mobile Field Force, Teleserve Unit and Animal Control Officers, among other specialty Patrol Division units.

In January 2013, Thomas was assigned to the Patrol Division as the East District Commander. In April 2015, she assumed command of the department's Internal Affairs Unit. She was most recently promoted to be KPD's second woman in the department's history to hold rank as a deputy chief. She took rank to command Knoxville's Criminal Investigation Division on March 12.

Officials said a formal promotional ceremony will be scheduled at a later time. The new chief will take command of KPD starting on Monday, June 25.

This is a developing story. Updates will be posted here.