Gatlinburg receives Municipal League award for Police Department

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Throughout the year, members of the Gatlinburg Police Department find themselves responsible for bringing law and order not only to the less than 4,000 residents of their city but also to a tourist population that can sometimes reach as much as 15 times the number of Gatlinburg citizens.

To recognize the efforts of the police department to protect and serve both citizens and tourists through community policing and crime prevention programs, the Tennessee Municipal League is pleased to present Gatlinburg with an award for Excellence in Police Services. 

One of the primary gateways to the most visited national park in the country, Gatlinburg can have as many as 60,000 tourists a day on top of the nearly 4,000 residents who permanently call the community home. To ensure that both residents and visitors are safe, the Gatlinburg Police Department has focused on service-oriented policing with customer service a priority for both residents and visitors.

In addition to answering calls and solving cases, the department focuses on proactive policies and programs such as bicycle patrol, walking patrol, motorcycle patrol, citizen out-of-town checks, and a Police Kids’ Camp. 

National attention was focused on the department in 2016 when officers worked around the clock to aid and rescue both residents and visitors who found themselves caught in the devastating wildfires that ripped through the area. Members of the Gatlinburg Police Department put their lives on the line for others, many not knowing if their own homes and families were safe while doing so.

The department first became accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) in July 1997 and remained a member until November 2009.  The Gatlinburg Police Department has been a member of the Tennessee Law Enforcement Accreditation program since 2010, with the most recent re-accreditation being in 2017.

The Gatlinburg Police Department has 55 employees and is comprised of four divisions.  These include two administrative positions, forty-one patrol officers and supervisors, four investigators and eight jailer/dispatchers.  Each division of the department is responsible for specific duties that require expert training and experience to accomplish the goals of the department. 

Each year the Tennessee Municipal League honors cities throughout the state for overall excellence, improvement, specific outstanding programs, or department accomplishments.  Other award winners for 2018 include Dunlap, for Excellence in Green Leadership; Jonesborough, Excellence in Community Planning and Development; Kingsport, for Excellence in Governance; Knoxville, for Excellence in Public Works; Martin, for Excellence in Technology and Economic Development; Murfreesboro, for Excellence in Fire Services; Rockwood, for Small City Progress; and Unicoi for Excellence in Entrepreneurial Leadership.

The Tennessee Municipal League is a voluntary, cooperative organization established by the cities and towns of the state for mutual assistance and improvements. The League’s primary function is to advocate on behalf of city governments. TML works with the Tennessee General Assembly promoting legislation helpful to cities and opposing legislation harmful to cities.