City of Oak Ridge Announces New Police Chief

October 23, 2018

Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson has announced today the promotion of Deputy Chief Robin Smith to Chief of Police. Chief Smith has served as Acting Chief for the Oak Ridge Police Department since August of this year.

“The Oak Ridge Police Department is an effective team built with good people who care about our community,” Chief Smith said. “We want Oak Ridge to be a safe place for people to live, work and visit. I’m proud to be a member of the team.”

Chief Smith has been with the department since 2012. He served as a Lieutenant for two years before being promoted to Captain in 2014 and then Deputy Chief in 2015. Prior to his work with Oak Ridge Police, Smith was Commander of Police Operations for the Tennessee Valley Authority for 15 years. He began his law enforcement career with the Sevierville Police Department in 1979, serving first as a Dispatcher, then Police Officer, Corporal and Sergeant.

“Chief Smith is a third generation law enforcement officer and his loyalty and integrity to the field is recognized throughout Tennessee,” City Manager Mark Watson said. “His dedication to the City of Oak Ridge and the citizens came out repeatedly during a series of interviews with local clergy, Oak Ridge police officers and City department directors. I believe the community will benefit from Chief Smith’s desire to coach our officers to an even higher level of professionalism. I want to congratulate Robin Smith and welcome him to the professional management team of this city.”

During the job candidate review process, Chief Smith participated in a writing exercise on innovation and leadership in the modern police department, an interview with Oak Ridge Ministerial Association clergy on community relationships, an interview with divisional police representatives and discussions on day-to-day operations within the organization, an interview with department directors on opportunities to work together and identify the strategies of ORPD under his leadership, and an interview with the City Manager on style, goals and budgeting. Over the last two months, the City Manager and City Council have had an opportunity to meet with and observe the activities of the Acting Chief and are pleased to see him appointed as the new Chief of Police.