KPD has new Assistant Chief

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Lt. Mark Fortner and Chief Eve Thomas. Photo submitted by KPD.

A veteran officer from the Knoxville Police Department has been promoted to a newly created position as an Assistant Chief.

Lt. Mark Fortner’s appointment to the post was effective Tuesday.

KPD Chief Eve Thomas is retiring next year, and the next Chief of Police will have the option to retain him as an Assistant Chief or make an appointment of their choosing from a pool of either internal or external candidates. If he’s not retained, he would return to his previous rank as Lieutenant, according to City officials.    

“I am humbled that Mark has agreed to take on this new role,” Thomas said. “Mark has faithfully served the Knoxville community for nearly three decades and has proven to be a caring and confident leader. Mark is incredibly knowledgeable, a dedicated public servant, and committed to our mission of ensuring the safety of the Knoxville community. He will be a great asset to the department in this role.”

Thomas continued: “I wanted to create this position to give future Chiefs the flexibility to appoint an officer to help accomplish their goals and mission for the department. I also wanted that person to have the authority to act on my behalf without bearing the responsibility of supervising a specific division. Mark is a perfect selection, as we share a lot of the same goals and vision for the department. He has been exemplary at every supervisory level, and I am confident he will continue to excel as my Assistant Chief.” 

Fortner graduated from the KPD Training Academy in 1993 and was immediately assigned to patrol, where he served in several capacities for the majority of his career. He’s been a Patrol Sergeant, the commander of the Central Business District (encompassing all of downtown Knoxville) and a Patrol Lieutenant.   

“I want to thank Chief Thomas for giving me this opportunity,” Fortner said. “I don’t take this appointment and the responsibility that comes with it lightly, and I appreciate Chief Thomas for having faith in me. There is a lot that Chief Thomas still wants to accomplish before she retires in May, and I am excited to help her work towards realizing that vision over the next few months.”  

Accepting his new position means he will retire from the Special Operations Squad after 25-plus years as a member of the team. 

“When Chief Thomas presented me with this opportunity, I jumped at it,” he said. “I care deeply about the men and women of this department and will always act in their best interests as well as the best interests of the community. I am ready to get to work.”  

Published on December 9, 2021.