Knoxville’s community outreach program is designed to support the FBI’s mission of protecting national security, combating crime, and defending our freedoms. By developing community partnerships and education and awareness initiatives through innovative programs, the Knoxville Division continues to build bridges and encourage dialogue among the diverse communities we serve.

Our programs include:

Citizens Academy

Group Photo of 2012 CA Class on ERT Night – all in TYvek Suits
2012 Citizens Academy class wearing Tyvek suits on ERT (Emergency Response Team) night.
Our Citizens Academy offers business, civic, religious, and community leaders an inside look into the priorities, mission, and resources of the FBI. We are learning about their concerns; they are learning about our challenges.

During the fall of 2011, we conducted our 10th Citizens Academy, which brought together a diverse group of community leaders to learn firsthand about our operations and programs. We anticipate that our next academy will be held sometime in early 2013.

Young Adult Leadership Academy (YALA)

Group Photo at Court of Flags of members of the 2012 Young Adult Leadershp Academy
Members of the 2012 Young Adult Leadership Academy pose at the Court of Flags at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
In May 2012, we held our annual Young Adult Leadership Academy (YALA) in partnership with the Knoxville Metropolitan Drug Commission, the Knoxville Police Department, the University of Tennessee Police Department, and Oak Ridge National Lab. Held over a three-day period, YALA is designed to foster a rich learning environment while encouraging our future leaders to enhance their team building and leadership skills. Through a series of intellectual and hands-on exercises, students are challenged to hone their critical thinking skills and ability to interact with people from all walks of life. Course content from this year’s YALA included mastering job interviewing and public speaking skills, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum, forensics, mock crime scenes, mock firearms scenarios, SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) demonstrations, underage drinking and prescription pill abuse pitfalls, Internet and social media safety, and handling the transition to college/campus life.

Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA)

This prestigious award was established by the Director of the FBI in 1990 to publicly recognize the achievements of individuals and organizations actively involved in community crime prevention. Each of the FBI’s 56 field offices presents one award annually to an individual or organization in its jurisdiction who significantly contributes to improving their community. This year’s Knoxville recipient of the DCLA was Patricia Payne, a cyber security advocate and president of the Knoxville InfraGard Member Alliance.

Community Relations Executive Seminar Training (CREST)

This training provides an overview of the FBI, its jurisdiction, and issues relating to the community. A CREST serves as a catalyst for improving the quality of life within the community and reinforcing existing relationships by establishing an exchange of information between the FBI and the communities we serve. The training is typically eight hours in length, and enrollment requires a minimum of 25 students. The organization requesting the training is responsible for providing a venue, identifying all participants, and identifying any specific community concerns.

East Tennessee Civil Rights Working Group

The pinnacle of Knoxville’s community outreach is its efforts with the East Tennessee Civil Rights Working Group (ETCRWG). This group meets monthly to discuss the prevention and detection of hate crimes, color of law violations, human trafficking, and crimes specifically targeted against minority segments of our community. The ETCRWG also sponsors an interactive exhibit known as the Traveling Trunk. The exhibit is geared toward school-age children and demonstrates the dangers of hate crimes and the attitudes and behaviors which give rise to them. To schedule a presentation of the Traveling Trunk, please send an e-mail to Read a related story on the Traveling Trunk.

Other Activities

Law Enforcement Memorial 5K Run

On May 12, 2012, numerous special agents and professional support employees from from the Knoxville Division participated in the Law Enforcement Memorial 5K Run. The run is one of several local events held to celebrate National Peace Officers and National Police Week. FBI Knoxville also participates in the Knoxville-Knox County Law Enforcement Memorial Service to recognize local officers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Group photos of Knoxville Division employees who participated in the 2012 Law Enforcement Memorial 5K Run
FBI Knoxville participates in 2012 Law Enforcement Memorial 5K Run.
Celebrating Women’s History and Supporting Hometown Hero

During March 2012, as part of its celebration of Women’s History Month, the Knoxville Division hosted Joan Cronan, the women’s athletic director at the Univeristy of Tennessee at Knoxville. The event was part of FBI Knoxville’s Equal Employment Opportunity Special Programs Speaker Series. Pat Summit, former head coach of the Lady Vols, is one of Cronan’s most recognizable employees. In 2011, Summit announced she was diagnosed with early onset dementia and is now an icon for Alzheimer’s awareness. In the photo below, FBI employees are dressed in orange and white and hold a “We Back Pat” sign—a popular gesture to show support for Coach Summit.

Employees of the Knoxville Division show support for former Lady Vols coach Pat Summit in her fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
FBI Knoxville employees show support for former Lady Vols coach Pat Summit.

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