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‘I’m 100% committed’ | Big changes, a new face revamping KPD

Chief Paul Noel told WVLT News he’s already spent hours working alongside officers in the field.
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 6:21 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2022 at 11:48 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The City of Knoxville’s 27th chief of police was going on week two on the job and already checked off some items on his priority list.

“It was great to get in the car on Wednesday night, and run along for about six hours with a young officer,” said Chief Paul Noel. “I’ve been out in the community a lot. And you know, we will be going out in the community almost every day, interacting with members of the community.”

Noel told WVLT News he’s already spent hours working alongside officers in the field, changed uniforms for top officers and applied KPD for the active bystandership for law enforcement project, which will train police on how to hold each other accountable.

“We have to align our policies with those April standards, and we’re in the process of doing that right now. One of the biggest ones is, well, I’m having a policy that specifically protects officers against retaliation,” Noel said.

The New Orleans native was coming from a department that has been heavily criticized for corruption.

“NOPD did have a history of corruption in the past, but now the police department is known as a model for ethical policing really all across the country,” said Noel. “It’s something that we built that’s where the able program started. We built ethical policing as courageous in New Orleans. That’s, that’s where it was born. And it’s now in 252 police departments all across the country.”

He’s coming into a department that’s had its own share of complaints, which according to the Police Advisory and Review Committee, mostly comes in the form of use of force and showing unbecoming conduct.

To avoid those kinds of claims moving forward, Noel said he will be his four C’s.

“Which are crime, community culture, and career development. And that’s really what we’re focusing on right now,” Noel said. “I’m 100% committed to that. That’s why I’m here. And I think we have a really good police department here in Knoxville, but there’s a lot we could do to enhance that.”

Noel also hoped the city’s new pay increase for officers will open the door for new hires.

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