KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Paul Noel is coming to Knoxville from New Orleans with over 25 years in the police force, and will soon be the new police chief for the Knoxville Police Department.
“I pledge to you that the time and energy that you have invested in me will be returned tenfold,” Noel said during Thursday morning’s press conference.
His extensive resume is one that Mayor Indya Kincannon said stuck out to her and the interview advisory committee as a perfect fit for the city. Including what brought Noel national recognition; by implementing a program on ethical policing and serving as a board member on Georgetown University’s law enforcement project known as ABLE, which aims to create a police culture, prevents misconduct, mistakes and promotes officer health and wellness.
“His commitment to community engagement and involvement, and understanding that building trust and relationships, not only internally amongst his staff is going to be super important, but that policing can only be done effectively if the communities that they are serving believe in the department, trust in the department and believe they have a voice,” LaKenya Middlebrook, the city’s chief community safety officer said.
That voice is one Knoxville NAACP president, Sam Brown said it’s important to have, and he is hopeful that change to better communities in the area will happen over time.
“We have had the opportunity to speak with him and he knows that the NAACP is not here to be an antagonist or to be an enemy but simply here to be an accountability partner,” Brown said.
The many roles Noel will have in the community is one he plans to work on immediately.
“Partnership and collaboration between the police and the community are essential to create safe public spaces in every corner of our city,” Noel said.
From one chief to another, Phil Keith who served as the Knoxville police chief from 1988 to 2004, said he believes Noel will have an overall positive impact on the community.
“He’s just got a tremendous track record of turning things around. That’s really important when you look at law enforcement today.”
Noel will start his new position as chief on June 13.