KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Gatlinburg Police Department will have new leader later this year following an announcement by the city on Thursday.

Ronnie Barrett has been named the 11th Chief of the Gatlinburg Police Department, City Manager Cindy Cameron Ogle announced. Barrett has served the department for 27 years and has held the title of captain since 2018.

“Captain Barrett demonstrated the many leadership qualities and abilities needed to lead the Gatlinburg Police Department through the hiring process, which included an MTAS Assessment Center,” Ogle said.

Barrett will assume the leadership position on Friday, June 2. He will replace Ronnie Brackins, who will retire after nearly 50 years at the department.

“Chief Brackins has had a long and successful career with the Gatlinburg Police Department and has played an important role on the City’s administrative leadership team throughout the years, especially during and after the 2016 Wildfires,” Ogle said. “Chief Brackins has served the citizens and visitors of Gatlinburg well and we wish him and his family the very best in his retirement.”

The Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police Conference recently honored Brackins with the Joe Casey Award, their highest honor. The department called him a, “hero to the highest order.”

Barrett was a member of the 284th session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia in 2022 and underwent 10 weeks of advanced communication, leadership, and fitness training.

“I am very grateful to the City administration for their confidence in me to be the next Chief of the Gatlinburg Police Department,” Barrett said. “Being ingrained in the Gatlinburg community, I am excited to continue my career in law enforcement by serving the citizens and visitors of the City in this new role.”