KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knoxville Chief of Police Paul Noel announced Monday that officers will no longer respond to some non-injury vehicle crashes in an effort to focus on high-priority calls.

KPD officers will no longer respond to minor, non-injury crashes unless a car is disabled in the roadway and requires a tow truck or other specific factors are involved. Noel said in a press release that the change will allow officers to focus on other high-priority calls like violent crime. The change will take effect on Sept. 1.

“Minor, non-injury crashes occupy a lot of our officers’ time and minimize our ability to respond more quickly to higher priority calls or conduct proactive traffic enforcement initiatives to actually prevent serious crashes from happening,” Chief Noel said. “We want to recapture that time so that we can focus our efforts on being visible in city neighborhoods and addressing violent crime.”  

Officers will continue to respond to crashes that result in injury or death, crashes involving a suspected intoxicated driver, crashes involving an unlicensed or uninsured driver, crashes that result in a disabled vehicle on the road, and crashes involving a disorderly or uncooperative party.

Drivers in a non-injury crash that don’t involve these conditions will be advised to move their car out of the roadway to a safe location, exchange information, take cell phone photos, share information with respective insurance companies and file required documents with the state.

An analysis of recent crash data revealed that KPD officers cumulatively spend around 24 hours per day working minor, non-injury crashes when factoring in the time it takes to get to the call, collect the relevant information, and complete the report.

“This is really a minor change to our operations so that we can focus more narrowly on what is essential to our core mission as a department,” Noel said. “This is also just a small piece of a larger strategic vision. We are taking a close look at how, when and where officers are deployed so that we can more effectively address higher priority public safety issues and concerns.”