KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The first Deputy Chief of Professional Standards for Knoxville Police Department was named during a news conference Friday at 11 a.m.
Brooklyn Sawyers Belk, University of Tennessee law professor and former federal prosecutor, has been chosen for the position. The position was mentioned as a goal by Knoxville Police Chief Paul Noel in mid-January. According to Noel, the position will streamline the policy, practices and procedures of KPD and lead the department’s efforts to achieve its diversity, equity and inclusion goals.
“Brooklyn is a perfect fit for this role,” Chief Paul Noel said. “Her vast array of experience and deep knowledge of constitutional law will help her be successful and make her an invaluable member of our department and Command Staff. She is a uniquely qualified leader with national experience and will serve the city well. I am excited to bring Brooklyn into the fold as we continue working towards making our department the best it can be.”
“Brooklyn Belk is an incredible addition to the City,” said Mayor Indya Kincannon. “Her extensive law background, her time with the Department of Justice, and her proven track record as a diversity and inclusion officer make Belk the ideal candidate to help continue the Knoxville Police Department’s commitment to transparency, accountability, and equitable policies. I look forward to having her insight and expertise at KPD.”
According to KPD, Belk is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, where she obtained a Doctor of Jurisprudence. She also earned a Master of Art in History from East Tennessee State University and received a Bachelor of Arts from Emory and Henry College.
Belk has a wealth of experience in criminal justice. At the UT College of Law, she is a visiting criminal and constitutional law professor. She also serves on two university alumni boards and has been named adjunct professor of the year twice.
“Thank you Mayor Kincannon and Chief Noel for this appointment,” Belk said. “I am excited to continue my work with law enforcement as the first person to serve in this new position. I bring varied experience—from academia to the practice of law—garnered over nearly 20 years. I will leverage that depth and breadth of experience to be an effective member of KPD’s executive leadership team. I look forward to working with Chief Noel and the entire KPD team as we endeavor to serve Knoxville’s diverse and ever-changing community.”
Previously, Belk was in-house counsel for a technology company working with law enforcement nationally according to KPD. She also served as a federal prosecutor for the United States Department of Justice from 2009 to 2018 and was a law firm partner and chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer at Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial
She has also published many articles in publications including Bloomberg Law, Thomas Reuters Westlaw, Law360, and Dicta. She also gave training to law enforcement, attorneys, and judges across the United States.
Belk’s first day on the job is Monday, February 20.