KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The City of Knoxville has created and appointed a local leader to a new position; the city’s first-ever Director of Community Safety.

Mayor Indya Kincannon has appointed LaKenya Middlebrook to this new position that will oversee community safety and violence reduction initiatives. Middlebrook will seek to grow collaboration with the Mayor, her office, Knoxville Police, Knoxville Fire Department, along with other community partners to keep Knoxville safe.

“I am honored and humbled to be chosen for such a critical role in our City,” Middlebrook said. “As part of the internal task force working on violence prevention and interruption, I have learned a lot about evidence-based strategies in cities throughout the country and methods we can successfully implement here in Knoxville.

“Our entire community is impacted by increases in violence, our neighbors are hurting, and we will do everything we can to prevent and reduce violence here.”

Middlebrook will be transitioning from her role as the Executive Director of the City’s Police Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) to Director of Community Safety in early September.

“LaKenya Middlebrook is an effective and passionate leader who works tirelessly for justice in all situations,” Mayor Kincannon said. “She has established relationships with key partners that will help us build out sustainable violence interruption programs and other solutions that will work best in our city.”

She will be in bi-weekly meetings with Kincannon and KPD Chief Eve Thomas, meetings with the full cabinet and work closely with the city’s Empowerment Department and coordinate resources with others on the front lines working to keep our neighborhoods safe.

Kincannon will be appointing a new PARC director before the committee’s next scheduled meeting.