Chief of Police Paul Noel

Knoxville Police Chief Paul Noel

Chief Paul Noel

Paul Noel was sworn in as Knoxville’s 27th Chief of Police on June 13, 2022.

Prior to assuming command of the Knoxville Police Department, Noel was a Deputy Superintendent at the New Orleans Police Department, where he served in numerous leadership roles for over 25 years.

While at NOPD, Noel developed a reputation as a successful and ethical leader committed to a community-focused approach to problem solving that builds trust and legitimacy, reduces crime, demands accountability and maintains a highly-motivated workforce.

From May 2020 until his departure from the NOPD, Noel served as the Chief of Detectives, where he oversaw the supervision of over 200 sworn detectives responsible for all follow-up investigations. In that role, he reorganized a Homicide Division that had a 36% solve rate, initiating significant culture changes within the Homicide Division that resulted in that solve rate increasing to 54%. Noel also implemented quarterly “Next of Kin” community meetings for homicide victims’ families to improve communications with those families and the NOPD and assist those families through in the healing process.

Prior to his time as the Chief of Detectives, Noel was the Deputy Superintendent over Field Operations from December 2015 until May 2020. In that capacity, he was responsible for directing over 900 sworn officers in the field, including all eight police districts. He also created NOPD’s TIGER Unit to strategically target violent criminals. Noel’s transformative strategies and leadership in that role led to a 31-percent decrease in homicides from 2016 to 2019, resulting in the city’s lowest homicide number since 1971. He also represented the NOPD in the US Department of Justice Public Safety Partnership and served as the Incident Commander for all protests, public gatherings, natural disasters and major public events, including Mardi Gras, the NCAA National Championship Game and the Sugar Bowl.

Noel also oversaw the implementation of wide-ranging community-policing initiatives. That included leading a citywide effort to help New Orleans residents form district-based community policing plans, directly involving community members in the problem-solving process.

During his time at the command levels of the NOPD, Noel became an outspoken champion of ethical and progressive policing. While the Chief of Field Operations, Noel played an integral role in the development and implementation of the Ethical Policing is Courageous (EPIC) peer intervention program, which was developed alongside community partners. In 2021, Noel was presented with the prestigious Hayes Award from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) for his work implementing the EPIC program.

The evolution of that program was the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) Project that was developed through Georgetown University. Noel still serves as a member of the ABLE Board of Advisors. Over 280 law enforcement agencies across the United States and Canada have implemented the ABLE training. The KPD was accepted to join the ABLE Project in the fall of 2022.

Before his promotion to Deputy Superintendent, Noel was the commander of NOPD’s Second District from January 2012 through December 2015. In that capacity, he oversaw the supervision of over 90 sworn officer within a district that earned a reputation for aggressively solving crimes while working closely with community members, faith-based leaders and non-profit organizations to solve problems in neighborhoods.

While serving as the Second District Commander, Noel was also tasked with the additional responsibility of leading needed reforms of the NOPD’s Sex Crimes Unit. That included the reinvestigation of over 350 sexual assault investigations and overhauling the department’s sexual assault and child abuse policies and procedures. That process was done in concert with external stakeholders and advocates, who helped develop and implement policy reforms based on the best nationally recognized practices.

Noel started his career with the NOPD in February 1997 and served in various roles until assuming command of the Criminal Investigation Division in April 2011. He served as a detective sergeant and as a uniformed patrol sergeant from June 2002 through June 2004. He later served as a lieutenant from June 2004 through April 2011, which included a stint on the staff for the Chief of Operations.

Noel obtained a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Loyola University New Orleans in 2005 and later obtained a Master Degree in Criminal Justice from Loyola University New Orleans in 2009. He also graduated from the FBI National Academy (230th Session) in 2007.