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Press Release

Justice Department Announces Phil Keith as Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Department of Justice today announced that Phil Keith will serve as the Director of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office). The COPS Office is the division of the Justice Department responsible for advancing the practice of community policing by the nation's state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies through information and grant resources.

Mr. Keith has more than 47 years of experience in the fields of criminal justice, public safety, and business administration. Thirty-four of those years were spent in active law enforcement service, including 17 years as Chief of Police of the Knoxville, Tennessee, Police Department.

In addition to his service as a law enforcement officer, Mr. Keith has significant policy and administrative experience, including working directly with the COPS Office. His experience in these areas include, but are not limited to service as:

  • Commissioner, Tennessee Peace Officers Standard and Training Commission;
  • Principal Project Director, Major Cities Chiefs Association;
  • Member, Department of Justice COPS Office Law Enforcement Ethics Task Force; and
  • Member, Department of Justice COPS Office National Community Policing Resource Board.

In these and other professional capacities, Mr. Keith has performed more than 150 organizational assessments and has authored more than 100 articles and technical reports.

Mr. Keith has been widely recognized and awarded for his commitment to public safety. Mr. Keith has been awarded two Director’s Choice Awards from the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police; honored by the American Society for Public Administration for Excellence in Public Service for Municipal Services; received the Law Enforcement Leadership Award given by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; and recognized by the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation in 2013 as the first recipient of the Human Rights Award for his leadership in fighting commercial sex trafficking.

“The Justice Department is committed to backing our state and local law enforcement partners—the men and women that serve on the front lines of the fight against violent crime, the opioid crisis, and criminal organizations,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “For that reason, it is imperative that we have a leader in the COPS Office that understands this commitment and how the Office can work to fulfill it. Phil Keith’s experience is second-to-none, and I am confident he will be an effective leader for the COPS Office.”

Mr. Keith will be responsible for overseeing grant awards, innovative policing strategies, and training and technical assistance.

Mr. Keith is a graduate of East Tennessee State University, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Business Administration, and from the University of Tennessee, where he earned a Master’s of Science. Chief Keith also served in the United States Army Reserves from 1968 to 1974.

Updated April 13, 2018

Press Release Number: 18-483