How Knoxville Police Chief Paul Noel chose to fill out his leadership team

Knoxville Police Chief Paul Noel made selecting his command staff a deliberate process.

Four months after he was sworn in, Noel made public his decisions on Monday, naming two deputy chiefs, promoting 20 officers and reshaping how the department will patrol the streets.

There were many holes to fill when Noel started his job because of the number of officers who resigned or retired ‒ sometimes amid internal investigations like with the two deputy chief positions.

Noel challenged officers to do better and be better. He is confident they know his expectations by now.

“You are the ones that set the tone, chart the path and shape our agency to make it the best that it can be,” Noel told officers Monday. “I will expect a lot of you, especially the members of my command staff. I will expect you to hold yourself and those under your supervision accountable. I will expect you to be problem solvers that make difficult decisions for the greater good of our community and our department.

“It is my job to give you the tools, resources and training to be successful,” he continued. “It’s your job to deliver the outcomes that we seek. I have full faith that you will all rise to this challenge.”

From earlier this year:On Knoxville Chief Paul Noel's leadership and why he won't be blowing things up at KPD

Previous coverage:Knoxville Police Chief Paul Noel shakes up internal affairs structure and uniforms rules

Districts restructured so police can better 'direct their efforts'

Noel announced a major change to the patrol structure. The city will return to operating under three districts, adding back into the mix a central district in addition to the east and west districts. The central district will cover all of downtown, the area surrounding the University of Tennessee and South Knoxville.

“This isn’t change for the sake of change. There is real purpose and intentionality behind this,” Noel said in a released statement. “Adding a third district allows our officers to reduce their area of focus, more narrowly direct their efforts, be more proactive and directly engage with the community on a day-to-day basis to solve the specific public safety problems that impact each area of town.”

Who was promoted

Noel promoted Susan Coker and David Powell, both formerly captains, to deputy chief positions. The two have a combined 50 years of service at KPD. Coker will lead the Investigations Bureau with Powell, while Powell will lead the Management Services Bureau

Lieutenants Nevin Long, Ryan Morrow, Sammy Shaffer and Steve Still were selected for promotion to captain and will join the command staff.

Morrow will oversee the Violent Crime, Property Crime and Forensics Units as the criminal investigations captain. Still will remain with Internal Affairs. Long and Shaffer will be the district commanders of the central and east districts, respectively, alongside Capt. Tony Willis in the western district.

Assistant Chief Mark Fortner will remain in his role as the department's No. 2 in command.

The newly promoted sergeants and lieutenants will step into their roles Oct. 23.

Ryan Wilusz: Knoxville's downtown reporter and urban explorer Instagram | Email | 865-317-5138 | Unlock premium perks and support strong local journalism at

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Knoxville Police Chief Paul Noel fills out his leadership team