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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

145 N Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20530

May 2018 | Volume 11 | Issue 5

As law enforcement officers nationwide are faced with some of the most difficult challenges in the history of policing, it is with great pleasure that I join the COPS Office as its sixth director.  I bring over 47 years of law enforcement experience with me, 34 of those years in active law enforcement service, and 17 years as Chief of Police of the Knoxville Police Department in Tennessee.

There is no better time for me to have joined the COPS Office, as over the years I have seen firsthand the obstacles facing law enforcement officers across the country, and I know how important the COPS Office is to helping overcome those obstacles.  I was personally involved in drafting language for the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that led to the creation of the COPS Office in 1994.  Since then, the COPS Office has supported law enforcement agencies through extensive research, funding and technical assistance, and strong partnerships and collaboration.  The COPS Office knowledge products offer support to the field, using field-driven approaches to help law enforcement agencies of all sizes solve their most pressing public safety challenges.  

As the COPS Office continues to serve as a resource, we must ensure that we understand the needs of law enforcement.  That is why it is my top priority to ensure that we are always listening to the field, rather than telling the field what it needs.  We will offer the support and assistance that state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies request to improve their own public safety efforts.  Through initiatives designed to reduce violent crime, increase offender responsibility, and develop strategies that address the opioid epidemic, the COPS Office is committed to working collaboratively with law enforcement to advance this Administration’s law-and-order agenda.

I am personally committed to helping change the narrative around the ways in which the public views law enforcement officers, and the field as a whole.  It will take a tremendous and concerted effort, but I know that the COPS Office can help shed light on the noble, and often unrecognized, work that law enforcement officers do every day to keep our communities safe.  Police work is far from easy, and certainly not glamorous, but it is essential to our democracy and our well-being.  The men and women who choose this career path should be celebrated, supported, and most importantly, protected by policies that help, not hinder, them from doing their jobs.

As we commemorate National Police Week, we remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving and protecting our communities.  The COPS Office remains committed to keeping officer safety and wellness a priority.  We will continue to push forward with innovative research, training, and support to help ensure that the men and women in law enforcement return home to their families after every shift.

Nothing is more important to me than family, as anyone who has heard me speak may know.  I often mention my family as the guiding force behind the man that I have become.  I am so grateful to have recently joined a new family – the COPS Office family – and I look forward to the future work of this organization and the future of the field.  I am excited for the great things to come.

Phil Keith

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