KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knoxville Police Department is opening up a new position. Police Chief Eve Thomas has asked city leaders for an assistant chief of police. On Tuesday, the City Council approved that request.

The department already has room for this position. They’re used to having four deputy chiefs, but one of those deputies left a while back and was never replaced. Now, instead of bringing back a fourth deputy chief, they’ll hire an assistant police chief.

Thomas says with so much on her plate, this new position will be a great help to her. It’s no secret the city has seen higher crime numbers this year. There have been over 30 deaths to gun violence in 2021.

“It’s really gonna help me to get my vision and to reach my employees sworn and my professional staff more effectively,” Thomas said. “There is just so much responsibility with this position and to have a person right beside me helping me to oversee is just going to be a huge benefit to me.

“And I think that this will go a long way toward addressing crime issues, addressing neighborhood issues. Being able to keep all the balls in the air at once.”

Thomas will have the option to appoint someone of her choosing or open the position up for applications. Before a person can be chosen, the vote has to go through a second reading, then go before civil services.

Council OKs land-use deal

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, a plan for land use for a new baseball stadium in the Old City passed in an 8 to 1 vote. But Mayor Indya Kincannon says it’s not a done deal yet.

“Council approved the plan development, which is the site plan, not the development agreement, its not about the money, it’s not about the revenues. It’s not a done deal. It’s just a preliminary sort of schematic and conceptual plan for how the land will be used,” Kincannon said.

The mayor says there will still be many opportunities for council and community input on how this land will be used, and other elements of this project.