Brooklyn Sawyers Belk Named First Deputy Chief of Professional Standards for Knoxville Police Department

by Billy Chandler

How does one take on a huge job? Brooklyn is getting started by listening.

This new position is a proactive effort on behalf of the Knoxville mayor and chief of police to make sure the Knoxville police force has the resources they need to be successful. And as Brooklyn Sawyers Belk steps into the role of the first ever Deputy Chief of Professional Standards for the Knoxville Police Department, she is starting from a place of wanting to learn. The accomplished attorney (UT Law School), says she’s a teacher at heart – but she’s also the consummate student, and wants to learn as much as she can as she creates this brand new position created in 2023.

“Right now I’m on a listening tour. I want to find out what police officers need to be more successful in their work…find out where policies and practices do not match. I’m asking officers how to best be of help to them.” She says she’s eager to offer more tools and resources and training to police officers that will help them better understand the law, policies, and procedures. “This is a dangerous and often thankless job, and people who sign on to be a police officer want to do the right thing in large part. I see myself as a helpmate.”

She is also talking with members of the community about what they need and how they perceive law enforcement. She’s finding, understandably, that community members want to feel safe, but they also wish to have their culture and rights understood by city leaders.

Brooklyn turned down the opportunity to serve in this role the first time it was offered to her. But she came to realize that her 20 years of experience could add value to the Knoxville Police Department. “I’ve worked in criminal law and I teach constitutional law. I’ve also served in the U.S. Department of Justice. I feel like I can help the department be certain they’re in full compliance with criminal and constitutional law.”

She has also done many training events around the country on reducing recidivism, DEI in law enforcement, the nuanced legalities of electronic surveillance, and more. As a former AmeriCorps volunteer and a Bonner Scholar, Brooklyn says she learned the value of service while still an undergrad, and she believes in using her time for helping others. “I can’t recall a time where I wasn’t involved in some kind of service. To whom much is given, much is required. “

Her journey is fascinating and inspiring, and in a Duck Pond Wall podcast you can hear more about how this highly successful woman wasn’t always certain of where she was headed, but these days she is making every minute count.

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/3190-madi-codispoti-news-reporter"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/812,115,2502,1806/14792_IMG_5597.rev.1698179838.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/812,115,2502,1806/14792_IMG_5597.rev.1698179838.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/812,115,2502,1806/14792_IMG_5597.rev.1698179838.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/812,115,2502,1806/14792_IMG_5597.rev.1698179838.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/812,115,2502,1806/14792_IMG_5597.rev.1698179838.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/812,115,2502,1806/14792_IMG_5597.rev.1698179838.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/812,115,2502,1806/14792_IMG_5597.rev.1698179838.jpg" alt="Woman at news desk smiling" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/812,115,2502,1806/14792_IMG_5597.rev.1698179838.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/812,115,2502,1806/14792_IMG_5597.rev.1698179838.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1690" data-max-h="1691" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/3190-madi-codispoti-news-reporter">Madi Codispoti: News Reporter!</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p> Barely off the E&H graduation stage, Madi has already landed in a job in her field.</p><a href="/live/news/3190-madi-codispoti-news-reporter" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>