Chattanooga's Public Safety Coordinator Gets New Job

Paul Smith.jpg

Paul Smith, a member of Chattanooga's Violence Reduction Initiative program that aims to curb gang violence, has taken a new position and will soon be leaving Chattanooga.

A release from the city of Chattanooga says Smith will be working for the National Network for Safe Communitiesas Strategic Operations and Policy Specialist.

The National Network for Safe Communities is located at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, NY.

The city says the National Network for Safe Communities, founded by criminologist David M. Kennedy, advances strategies to reduce violence and strengthen relationships between police and communities, and has guided the work of the Chattanooga Violence Reduction Initiative (VRI) and related work in scores of other cities across the country.

"Paul is as dedicated, energetic, and creative a practitioner as anyone I've worked with," says Kennedy.

"He has driven innovations that include a nationally unique response to victims of violence, and my organization has been sending other cities to Chattanooga to learn from what he and his partners have been doing. We are honored to bring him into this new role where he can build on and share his expertise with the field."

As Strategic Operations and Policy Specialist at the National Network, the city says Smith will draw on his experience as Public Safety Coordinator in Chattanooga by providing direct advising and support to cities implementing the National Network's model to reduce violence and strengthen police-community relations.

"Over the last three years, Paul has worked tirelessly to make Chattanooga safer and stronger -- and his leadership will be missed throughout our community," said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. "That said, this is a great accomplishment and, on a personal note, I am proud and excited that Paul has the opportunity to further his expertise and help positively impact more cities across the country."

Smith was appointed Public Safety Coordinator for the City of Chattanooga by Mayor Andy Berke in June of 2013 to coordinate public safety efforts focused on a variety of initiatives.

Prior to his time with the City of Chattanooga, Smith served as principal of Howard High School as well as an assistant principal of Orchard Knob Middle School and a teacher at Tyner High School.

"Paul has helped move the needle on how we approach targeted violence reduction and community outreach in Chattanooga," said Chief Fred Fletcher, Chattanooga Police Department. "While we will miss his day-to-day guidance and support, we look forward to continue to work with Paul in his new advising role at John Jay."

Smith will transition to his new role with National Network for Safe Communities by May 1, 2016.

The City of Chattanooga is currently interviewing candidates and is expected to announce a new Public Safety Coordinator in the coming weeks.

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