Police Chief Keith to retire
May 24, 2004 - Knoxville Police Chief Phil Keith announced today his retirement effective Aug. 31 after 16 years as the city's top law enforcement officer.
"Chief Keith's expertise and experience in the fields of criminal justice and public safety combined with his skills in business administration have served the city of Knoxville and its citizens well," said Mayor Bill Haslam.
"The Chief's innovative strategies for community policing, highway safety, crime prevention and juvenile justice have been used as program models by police forces across the country," he said. "His peers have also recognized his leadership abilities electing him president of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police and to other leadership roles in local, state and federal advisory groups."
The mayor noted that under Chief Keith's direction the Knoxville Police Department became a nationally accredited agency in just five months.
"Chief Keith has been a strong advocate for the Knoxville Police Department and the community which it is sworn to protect," Mayor Haslam said.
"He has left the Knoxville Police Department a better place for his tenure, and I wish him a long and happy retirement."
Chief Keith stated, "Seventeen years ago I would not have wanted to discuss the state of our department with colleagues.
"Today I am proud to say that I would put this police department up against any in the country," Chief Keith said.
"Our employees have made the difference and for that I'll forever be indebted to them. The caliber of both our sworn and non-sworn employees have made this a great ride," he said.
Chief Keith joined the Knoxville Police Department in 1970 as an officer, working in patrol, traffic, records, communication and planning and research.
He progressed through the ranks of Sergeant and Lieutenant before being named Chief of Police in 1988.
Chief Keith serves as a commissioner for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and Tennessee Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission.
He also is chairman of the Advisory Board for the Law Enforcement.
Chief Keith holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice administration from East Tennessee State University and a master's degree in safety administration from the University of Tennessee.