KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Under Knoxville Police Chief Paul Noel‘s direction, the city of Knoxville will go from having two different districts to three.

According to Noel, the reorganization comes as the Knoxville Police Department (KPD) continues to focus on reducing violent crime and enhancing community policing.

“Before, we had the two districts and a lot of centralized functions,” said Noel. “Many of those centralized functions have been divided up and placed under the three district captains. Basically, those three district captains are going to be like three mini police chiefs within the city.”

Noel says the decision to reorganize comes as KPD places increased focus on building relationships with the people the department serves.

New Knoxville Police Department district layout

“It’s not just adding a third geographical zone,” explained Noel. “It’s creating a philosophy within the organization that from the officer, all the way up to the district captain, that we’re going to be working with the community to resolve the different problems that we have.”

Part of the reorganization includes a heavier focus on south and downtown Knoxville (now called the Central District), which is an area Noel believes may have been overlooked during the two-district system.

“We’re really changing the whole philosophy of how we police.”

Paul Noel, Knoxville Police Chief

“We’ve taken some of the areas that are smaller and unique, South Knoxville, Old City, Fort Sanders, and downtown area, now their own district,” Noel told WATE. “So there’ll be one district captain with a group of officers that are really going to be more in tune into what’s going on in those areas.”

As officers settle into their districts, Noel encourages residents to do the same by attending community meetings and interacting with officers.

For more information about the Field Operations Bureau and its new district layout, click here.