KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Even though Chief Paul Noel has only been on the job for less than a year, the department has already seen quite a few changes during his tenure.

To name a couple, KPD became the first law enforcement agency in Tennessee to join ABLE or the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement. Also, the police department underwent one of the biggest reorganizations in its history, increasing its number of police districts from two to three.

During a press conference on Thursday, Noel went through a brief list of everything accomplished during his first seven months and even gave a game plan for what is to come this year.

Chief Paul Noel has been on the job for seven months now and in that time the department has already gone through a complete reorganization of how they will handle crimes and that reorganization has paid off.

“We are certainly moving in the right direction,” Noel said. “If you looked last week, we released our high-priority crime statistics for 2022. Significantly, in there we had a reduction of murders by 15%, car burglaries down by 5% and motor vehicle thefts were down 21%.” Noel continued, “these are things that the men and women of the Knoxville Police Department have been working on and are really proud of the results that we have achieved.”

Chief Noel said KPD has accomplished quite a lot in that short seven months, something he says he didn’t think would happen.

“I feel really good with the pace that we are going,” Chief Noel said. “When we were looking back and putting this together, I’m going to be honest with you, I was kind of surprised that we accomplished so much in such a short period of time.”

Part of getting so much accomplished; changing the culture within the department so that everyone strives for the same goals and understands the consequences when the rules are broken.

“Change does not happen overnight, change takes a while. Some of the changes that we are implementing will take years to implement,” Chief Noel said. “I feel really good about the path that we are going and the progress that we are making.”

The department took no time to implement one of the changes by introducing a new job. If approved, they will look to have the Deputy Chief of Professional Standards position filled by April or May of this year, and that person will play a big role in the department.

“The vision for that position is, it’ll be their job every day to look at policies, practices, procedures and training, how they intersect through the department and to make sure that we are holding one another accountable,” Chief Noel said.

He also mentioned that this year he is hopeful they can reach their goal to lower crime in the city. KPD will also be expanding its visibility downtown to make it safer for residents and visitors. Chief Noel ended by saying despite all the good things happening, the department still has a long way to go.