KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The city’s new police chief, Paul Noel, was officially sworn in Monday, June 13. Noel serves as the 27th Chief of the Knoxville Police Department.

“I’m excited for this tremendous opportunity to serve the people of Knoxville,” Noel said in a video statement shared by the city early Monday. “Though I am new to Knoxville, I already feel a special bond to the city, the people who live here and the men and women who serve as members of the Knoxville Police Department.”

Noel also highlighted “four focus areas” that will help guide KPD:

  • Crime prevention
  • Community partnerships
  • Culture
  • Career Development

“Violent crime is going to be the most important thing that we focus on,” Noel said. “If you look at the homicides in Knoxville since 2016, they have steadily risen and that’s a trend that we absolutely have to turn. What we are going to do, we are going to use data analytics to really take a hard look at everything our team is doing to reduce violent crime. How do we deploy, how are we staffed, how are we using overtime, how are we using the resources that we have right now to successfully attack violent crime?”

On his first day on the job, Noel is already taking work.

“We submitted our application today for ABLE, active bystandership for law enforcement,” he said. “It’s going to help give our police officers and the leadership the tools they need to really hold each other accountable.”

Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon had announced in April that Noel was chosen and would replace outgoing Eve Thomas, who announced her retirement in November 2021.

Noel most recently served as the Deputy Superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department.

Noel began his law enforcement career in 1997, serving in various NOPD leadership positions including Criminal Investigation Division Commander, leader of the Sexual Assault Special Task Force, Chief of Field Operations and Chief of Detectives in addition to serving as Deputy Superintendent. Noel received a Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Loyola University New Orleans in 2009. He also attended the FBI National Academy, where he remains a regular guest lecturer.