Spotlight: Knox County Sheriff Mike Smith
AT A GLANCE
Years in Law Enforcement: 24
Current Position: Elected Knox County sheriff January 2015
Prior Law Enforcement Experience: Retired Kentucky State Police
Education: Bachelor of Science in Police Administration, Eastern Kentucky University
DESCRIBE YOUR AGENCY
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office consists of seven full-time sworn deputies, which includes a captain, sergeant and school-resource officer; one part-time administrative assistant; seven court-security officers; and three administrative clerks.
The sheriff’s office strives to maintain the highest standard of integrity in order to promote public trust within its agency. This is accomplished through our personnel and adopting core values such as honor, courage and commitment. The primary mission is to make the residents feel safe in their homes, work places and on the roadways by reducing crime through prevention and enforcement efforts.
Due to budget constraints, body armor was not provided to agency personnel and agency weapons were in poor condition. Deputies were providing their own ammunition and firearms training was nonexistent. In 2016, federal grants were obtained allowing the agency to purchase top-of-the-line, personally-fitted body armor, new service weapons and shotguns for each sworn deputy. A deputy was sent to the two-week Firearms Instructor course at the Department of Criminal Justice Training, and annual firearms qualification has been instituted.
STRATEGIES FOR YOUTH PROTECTION
One of our highest priorities is keeping the children of Knox County safe from physical abuse, neglect, substance abuse and Internet solicitation. This is being accomplished by partnerships with school officials, teachers and parents to educate kids on identifying and advoiding such issues. We continually conduct classroom visits and presentations on various topics concerning youth-safety issues. This office works closely with the Knox County Division of Child Support to proactively collect money owed to children by a supporting parent. The sheriff’s office partnered with the Knox County School System to place a school-resource officer in rotation with the county high schools and assist with elementary schools.
RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION
The sheriff’s office is committed to hiring highly-qualified and well-recommended personnel. The pay scale is competitive with surrounding agencies, with retirement and paid health-care benefits. A policy and procedures manual was instituted in January 2016 that established a general order on hiring practices to ensure a fair and impartial process. A general order setting grooming standards also was created. A ride-along program was created in 2016 that often is used to evaluate potential candidates.
HOW TO BUILD TRUST
Trust is essential within an organization, as well as between an organization and its community. The Knox County Sheriff’s Office is committed to being transparent and accountable to our residents. Trust is built with open, honest communication and interaction with citizens. Active listening as well as having a genuine desire to help encourages positive interaction with citizens and promotes community/police relations.
LONG TERM GOAL
Having been raised in Knox County, I have a deep sense of pride and commitment to the county. My desire for the Knox County Sheriff’s Office is to continually elevate and improve the office to provide the best possible service to the people of the county.