Three years ago, LaFollette Police Chief Bill Roehl came home to achieve a dream.
Roehl began his law enforcement career with the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department in 1978. He was given an opportunity to go to the Knoxville Police Department in 1979, the same year he graduated from the police academy. During his career, Roehl always wanted to come back to LaFollette and give back to the community where he grew up.
TOP PHOTO: WLAF caught up with LPD Chief Bill Roehl at Litho-Craft as he ordered his business cards on August 17, 2015.
He applied two times for the position of police chief before he was hired in August 2015 on his third attempt. Roehl remarked that he came back 35 years later to a different situation, referring to the drug problem in the community.
During his time as police chief, Roehl has revived the DARE program at LaFollette Elementary and LaFollette Middle Schools. He believed the community needed a positive police presence and our youth need to be educated about drugs. His next benchmark was re implementing the Special Response Team (SRT), which the department had not had for about five years. “I feel it is very important for all officers to have some type of specialized training,” Roehl said.
The department has also conducted two six-week long Community Police Academies under Roehl’s leadership. The first academy, conducted in the fall 2017, was very successful with 20 people in attendance and the spring of 2018 had 15 take part. The academy educates citizens about how the department works.
When asked about what goals Roehl has for the department moving forward, he said his number one goal was to provide service to the citizens by addressing traffic, order maintenance and crime issue inside the city. Other goals are to develop and implement community networking projects, establish opportunity for employees within the police department, reduce exposure to liability for the department, develop/maintain a close working relationship with other law enforcement partners, work to achieve accreditation for the department, budget development, implementation and management.
Roehl said of his accomplishments he was most proud of the officers and support staff. “They do a terrific job. We have a fantastic group of people,” he said. You need a good network to be successful, Roehl continued.
As Roehl reflected on his time with the city, he said if it ends tomorrow, ‘It’s been nothing but a blessing to me.” (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 08/20/2018-6AM)