KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knoxville Police Chief Paul Noel has been very open about how important the community is since he joined the department in June. Recently, his actions of visiting neighborhoods in Knoxville have backed up what he has been saying.
On Thursday, Chief Noel walked through Five Points with his Command Staff, Mayor Indya Kincannon and Councilwoman Gwen McKenzie.
Photos shared by Chief Noel and the Knoxville Police Department show the group visiting with community members to say hello and discuss any public safety concerns that they might have, and stopping by the Boys & Girls Club to visit with the kids in the after-school program.
“It was a blast walking through Five Points with my Command Staff this afternoon. Crime reduction is our number one priority and we will work in partnership with the community to solve problems in neighborhoods. Thanks to @MayorKincannon and @GwenMcKenzieD6 for joining us!” Chief Noel said in his Twitter post.
Just two weeks earlier, on September 14, Chief Noel also walked through Montgomery Village with his Command Staff to meet residents and visit the Boys & Girls Club.
Chief Noel has shared much about his involvement at community events, but he shows intentionality in visiting neighborhoods outside of policing duties and special events.
“Residents should know the leaders of our organization and who to call to help address issues in their neighborhood.” Chief Noel said.
Notably, Chief Noel has spoken out about the importance of community when discussing the city’s homeless and the recent spike in car break-ins. Noel has also been working to make sure the officers in the department uphold the standards expected of those in law enforcement, by being transparent about the disciplinary actions taken when officers make poor decisions and working to create a review board for use of force instances.
Local leaders have said from the beginning that Chief Noel’s view of the importance of the community has been a key factor that sets him apart.
“His commitment to community engagement and involvement, and understanding that building trust and relationships, not only internally amongst his staff is going to be super important, but that policing can only be done effectively if the communities that they are serving believe in the department, trust in the department and believe they have a voice,” LaKenya Middlebrook, the city’s chief community safety officer said after Noel was announced as the new chief.