Phil E. Keith has more than forty-seven 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. He has thirty-four years in active law enforcement service, with nearly seventeen years as Chief of Police for the Knoxville, Tennessee Police Department.
He gained major policy development experience through his membership on the Tennessee Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission, as a policy advisor to the Tennessee Municipal Advisory Service, as Commissioner of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, as a member of the Senior Advisory Council for Homeland Security from its inception until 2008, and as a participant in the development of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as well as numerous other state and national policy advisory groups.
Mr. Keith served as the principal project director for the Major Cities Chiefs Association, which is an association of the largest police agencies in North America. He has influenced policy development and implementation in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories on a variety of law enforcement issues. He participated in the U.S. Department of Justice's Law Enforcement Ethics Task Force and other federal working groups designated to implement significant change in policing in America. 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. Mr. Keith earned his undergraduate degree in criminal justice and business administration from East Tennessee State University, and an M.S. degree from the University of Tennessee.
Principal Deputy Director
Russ Washington joined the COPS Office in 2016 as the Principal Deputy Director. The COPS Office is responsible for advancing community policing nationwide and supporting the community policing activities of state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. To date, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion in the advancement of community policing. The COPS Office currently manages over 2,000 active grants totaling $1.4 billion.
Most recently, Russ served as the Director of Incident Management Policy for the National Security Council at the White House. In this role, he coordinated across the Executive Office of the President and federal partners to strengthen the collective federal capabilities to support disaster response operations. He supported White House coordination for drought, severe weather, Atlantic and Pacific tropical activity, wildfires, and the domestic Zika response, and produced the Domestic Incident Coordination Plan for the Executive Office of the President.
Prior to the NSC, Russ served as the first Director of FEMA's National Watch Center, Lead for Situational Awareness in the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) and was responsible for Operational Intelligence for FEMA. In this role, he created the secure FEMA Watch program providing guidance and building consensus across federal partners. As a result of his action, Russ received the FEMA Administrator's Award for being an Exemplary Emergency Manager in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Prior to joining FEMA, he served 21 years of dedicated military service as an Infantry Officer in the US Army, US Army Reserves and the US Army National Guard. His military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Combat Infantrymen Badge, Ranger Tab, Parachutist Badge and Silver Spurs.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Hampton University, a Master of Science in Management from Troy University and a Certificate in Leadership in Homeland Security at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. Russ and his wife have three children.