KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A new era at the Knoxville Police Department will soon begin. Chief Paul Noel and Mayor Indya Kincannon announced Friday a University of Tennessee law professor will serve as KPD’s first-ever Deputy Chief of Professional Standards.

Dozens are celebrating the appointment of Brooklyn Sawyers Belk to the new role.

“Her credentials alone make her a great fit for this job but it’s her character that will help her be most successful in her new role at KPD,” said Noel.

Belk, a UT alumna, is no stranger to a high-stakes, high-pressure environment. In addition to being a law professor, she also served as in-house counsel for a technology company working with law enforcement around the country and as a federal prosecutor for about a decade.

“As a federal prosecutor, I worked with the Knoxville Police Department doing new office training,” Belk said. “It was a delight to see them embark on this important career. With the Tennessee Highway Patrol, traveling from Knoxville to Nashville to do in-service training.”

Under her new role at KPD, Belk will oversee internal investigations as well as evaluate the department’s policies and training to make sure operations match with the best policing practices.

“The citizens of Knoxville deserve a police force that is unfailingly respectful of the enormous responsibility that comes with the exercise of police power. Seeing the humanity in each and every member of this community but likewise equally as important our police force deserves a community that is just as respectful of the law,” said Belk.

Noel encouraged city leaders to create the professional standards job for months and according to him, most larger police departments have the position and say it’s unique to find one in a mid-sized city.

“I’m super excited to have her join our team and help us continue in this process to make the Knoxville Police Department the best it could possibly be,” Noel said.

Belk added, “Our destinies and the legacy that we will leave behind as leaders in this community our inextricably intertwined, community and officer.”

Belk will begin her role at KPD on February 20.