UPDATE: Knoxville mayor, police condemn alleged KPD misconduct

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Knoxville’s mayor and police chief strongly condemned alleged misconduct in the department in a press conference Thursday afternoon and said a far-reaching investigation is underway.

“It is never appropriate in our workplace for lewd, derogatory, discriminatory, sexist, or homophobic statements or actions,” Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said.

“This type of alleged misconduct particularly offends and pains me, because we have so many outstanding officers, who every day demonstrate genuine respect to their fellow officers and the citizens they serve … officers who raise the bar, lead by example, and exceed the standards set by us as a community and KPD as a professional agency.”

Knoxville Police Chief Eve Thomas said: “We want to impress upon the Knoxville community that the comments alleged to have been made as part of these allegations are not in any way reflective of who the Knoxville Police Department is or who we want to be. We value diversity in our department, and how that diversity is reflective of the community we proudly support.

The behavior described in the allegations simply will not be tolerated. It erodes the good reputation our department has worked diligently to build and diminishes all the good deeds that our officers do in the community every single day.”

Knoxville Police Chief Eve Thomas

“I have been with the KPD for 26 years, and I am incredibly proud of the culture we have nurtured. These allegations are not indicative of the department I have served for nearly three decades. The behavior described in the allegations simply will not be tolerated. It erodes the good reputation our department has worked diligently to build and diminishes all the good deeds that our officers do in the community every single day.”

The city has said the allegations include misconduct by a small number of officer and a formal complaint that a sergeant made inappropriate comments. The complaint alleges his actions were not properly addressed by his superiors.

The allegations are under investigation by KPD’s internal affairs unit.

“No matter how effective an officer is at his or her job, the type of behavior brought to light with these allegations will not be tolerated,” Thomas said. “It is our duty to assess the role of leadership within our department so that those leading can continue to cultivate an environment that is unyielding in its inclusiveness and professionalism.”

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