The Kingsport Police Department’s Public Information Officer serves as the department’s official liaison to the media and the general public. Throughout the years, several officers have unofficially fulfilled this role on a part-time basis; however, in 2013 this was designated as a much needed full-time position. The P.I.O. serves as the department’s designated spokesperson, and facilitates numerous community relations and crime prevention oriented programs such as Neighborhood Watch and the highly acclaimed Citizens Police Academy. With invaluable assistance from the department’s Social Media Support Officer, the P.I.O. also oversees the police department’s online presence including K.P.D.’s website, WordPress blog, FaceBook page, Twitter feed, Instagram account, and YouTube channel.
Officer Tom Patton received his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology from East Tennessee State University. He began his law enforcement career at the Kingsport Police Department in 1995. After spending nearly 10 years assigned to the Operations Bureau as a Patrol Officer, he transferred to the Administrative Bureau where he spent the next decade heading up the department’s Community Relations and Crime Prevention Unit and teaching in the Kingsport City Schools as a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) instructor. He has served as a Field Training Officer and a member of the Honor Guard Team. Officer Patton also serves on several local panels and committees including the Board of Directors of the Kingsport Area Safety Council, the Board of Directors of the Sullivan County Anti-Drug (SCAD) Coalition, and the United Way of Greater Kingsport Health, Safety, and Stability Vision Council. In 2013 he was appointed as the department’s first full-time Public Information Officer. As a member of the Professional Standards Unit he also assists with officer training, recruiting, police applicant testing, and new employee background investigations and orientation.