Checks and Balances: KPD Accountability

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This year, the Knoxville Police Department and its officers have been involved in a series of cases that have raised questions of accountability. The city faces lawsuits over police brutality related to the shooting death of a fleeing man and the alleged beating of a Hispanic man, several officers have been accused of racial profiling in efforts to make drug arrests, dashcam recordings of altercations with police (including the K-9 mauling of a suspect) have been missing at trial, and a judge has said KPD needs to provide more training on citizens’ rights.

In this first of a three-part series examining the police department’s policies and management, S. Heather Duncan reports on how KPD polices its own.

After a Series of Incidents, Lawsuits, and Policy Changes, How Well Is KPD Policing Its Own?
KPD’s Internal Affairs Unit Often Rules Against Its Officers
Why Have Some of KPD’s Dashcam Recordings Gone Missing?



1. The Police
Checks and Balances: How well does KPD police its own officers?

2. The Community
Equal Protection: Can KPD overcome the doubts of Knoxville’s black community?

3. The Arbitrator 
Citizen Review: Does Knoxville’s Police Advisory Review Committee hold KPD accountable?

S. Heather Duncan has won numerous awards for her feature writing and coverage of the environment, government, education, business and local history during her 15-year reporting career. Originally from Western North Carolina, Heather has worked for Radio Free Europe, the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in London, and several daily newspapers. Heather spent almost a dozen years at The Telegraph in Macon, Ga., where she spent most of her time covering the environment or writing project-investigations that provoked changes such as new laws related to day care and the protection of environmentally-sensitive lands. You can reach Heather at

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