Phil E. Keith was appointed in April of 2018, by the President and Attorney General to serve as the sixth Director of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. As Director his priorities are assisting the Attorney General in carrying out DOJ initiatives, reducing the burden on grantees and serving as a sounding board for state, local, tribal and territorial law enforcement agencies.
He has fifty years of experience in the fields of criminal justice, public safety, and business administration. He has held numerous high level policy making positions in law enforcement, public safety, and emergency management preparedness. These policy making positions include serving on the Senior Advisory Council for DHS, Vice President and President of the FOP Volunteer Lodge #2, Commissioner for the Commission on Law Enforcement Accreditation, Commissioner for the Tennessee Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission, U.S. Conference of Mayors Advisory Task Force on the Crime Control Act of 1993, National Community Policing Resource Board for the COPS Office (1996), DOJ Intelligence Coordinating Council, National AMBER Advisory Committee for DOJ/OJP, and the Tennessee Municipal Technical Advisory Service.
He has thirty-four years in active law enforcement service, with nearly seventeen years as Chief of Police for the Knoxville, Tennessee Police Department. Under his leadership, the KPD became nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and he further initiated the accreditation of the KDP Training Academy and Communications District, making Knoxville the first community to receive accreditation in all three disciplines. During his active law enforcement tenure, he demonstrated his leadership in the development and implementation of a number of national initiatives, including the Integrated Criminal Apprehension Program, Missing and Exploited Children, Internet Crimes Against Children, U.S. Department of Justice's Law Enforcement Ethics Task Force, President’s Initiative on Family Justice Centers, Domestic Violence and Violence Against Women Initiative, First OJJDP Symposium on Human Trafficking, National School Safety Initiative and Organized Crime Initiative.
Mr. Keith served as the principal project director for the Major Cities Chiefs Association and has influenced law enforcement and public safety policy development and implementation throughout the United States. His experience in operational studies and activities include conducting more than fifteen trauma-based victims' roundtables for the U.S. Department of Justice and conducting numerous patrol staffing studies in large and small agencies including Los Angeles, Charlotte, Del Ray Beach, and many others. He served as the principal author for the Bureau of Justice Assistance Law Enforcement Leadership Initiative and published numerous other articles and technical reports. Mr. Keith has also performed more than 150 organizational assessments for law enforcement agencies, and conducted the first national survey of best practices and staffing for the U.S. Fire Administration.
Throughout his career he has been recognized for contributions and leadership, including being recognized as Officer of the Year for the KPD, Law Enforcement Educator of the Year by the Southeastern Criminal Justice Educators Association, Law Enforcement Planner of the Year by the International Law Enforcement Planners Association (and subsequently renamed the award in his honor), Excellence in Public Service by the American Society for Public Administration, Frederick Douglass Family Foundation as the first recipient of the Human Rights Award for national leadership in combatting modern day slavery, the John and Reve’ Walsh Award by the Governor of Florida and the law enforcement leadership award by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Mr. Keith earned his undergraduate degree in criminal justice and business administration from East Tennessee State University, and an M.S. degree in Education from the University of Tennessee. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy (110th Session) as well as the FBI National Executive Institute (13th Session).