Chief Deputy Eve Thomas will be the next Knoxville police chief, announced Mayor Madeline Rogero on Thursday. 

Thomas will be sworn in immediately after the announcement.

When Thomas assumes command of the police department on Monday, she will be the first female police chief in department history.

Thomas joined KPD in 1993 before becoming the department’s second-ever female deputy chief in February 2018. As deputy chief, Thomas oversees the Criminal Investigation Division. 

Thomas is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and her prior roles include IAU supervisor and district commander, serving the East District.

Deputy Chief Eve Thomas began her police career in January 1993 with the Knoxville Police Department following a career in the retail industry. She served in several capacities before being promoted to sergeant in November 1998:  Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, Breath Alcohol Test Operator, Recruitment Coordinator, Traffic Accident Reconstructionist, Problem Solving Instructor, Police Driving Instructor, Assistant Public Information Officer, Adjunct Faculty at Walters State Community College as a Domestic Violence/Terrorism Instructor, and worked in the Department’s Accreditation Unit.

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“When I began this trek 25 years ago, I simply wanted to be a good police officer and protect our citizens,” Thomas said. “A police chief serves the department, mayor and the community. I look forward to continuing what Chief Rausch has built.”

“I’m eager and excited to get started, to form new relationships and continue to engage members of our community,” Thomas continued. 

Outgoing Chief David Rausch, who assumes command of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on Monday, congratulated Thomas on her promotion and also spoke about his time as police chief.

“I appreciate the well-wishes of so many in the community on my next step,” Rausch said.

Rausch and Thomas graduated from the same police class in 1993. 

Deputy Chief Thomas has a Master’s Degree from Long Island University’s Homeland Security Master’s Institute and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She has instructed and developed lesson plans for courses in Community and Problem Oriented Policing, Accreditation, Officer Safety for Women and Traffic Accident Investigations as well as serving as a Police Driving Instructor when needed. 

She also serves the community as a Salvation Army Board Member and is the immediate past chair of the Knox County Community Health Council.

She is a member of Leadership Knoxville 2013 (BCE) and the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, the IACP, PERF, the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE) and works with the Tennessee Women in Criminal Justice Steering Committee.  

She has been married to her husband, Karl, for 29 years and has two teenage boys.