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Patterson promoted to Chief of UTPD

Sean Patterson has been named Chief of Police for the University of Tennessee Police Department, following the previously announced transition of Chief Troy Lane to the sole position of Associate Vice Chancellor of Public Safety.

Patterson, who will assume the role on November 1st, has been with the department since 2020, when he was hired after retiring from more than 21 years of service with the New York City Police Department.

He retired as a lieutenant and was the training coordinator for the elite, Emergency Service Unit, which performs tactical and technical rescues of all kinds. He has also served as the lead safety officer for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, directed an interagency task force dedicated to safety of the parade route. Alongside his time spent with NYPD, Patterson is a retired Navy chief petty officer, with 21 years of service including deployments to Bosnia, Kuwait, and Iraq.

“I am truly humbled to get the opportunity to be the next Chief of a university that means so much to me,” said Chief Sean Patterson. “After my tour with NYPD there was no question where my family and I wanted to end up, and that was right here in Knoxville.”

During his role as assistant chief, Patterson has worked to handle the day-to-day operations of the department that have been split with Chief Troy Lane, while Lane handled dual roles of Chief and Associate Vice Chancellor of Public Safety.

“Sean brings new-age leadership, experience, and professionalism to the department that we have worked to grow in my time here at the university,” said Chief Troy Lane. “He not only brings a vast knowledge of handling large-scale events, but he’s also a natural born leader, and has earned the respect of the men and women of the department.”

Patterson has also assisted the Police Executive Research Foundation (PERF) with curriculum development and delivery in a wide array of areas including critical incident response, community-oriented policing, police use of force, and de-escalation techniques. He has also taught various departments across the country the Integrating Communications Assessment and Tactics (ICAT) program, and currently is an adjunct lecturer at UT-Knoxville Haslam College of Business, where he teaches Ethical Issues in Organizations. Patterson also holds a master’s in public administration and is a recent graduate of the UT Executive Leadership Institute.

“Higher education, continuous training, employee development and engagement are all top tier priorities for me and where I feel we have seen excellent growth so far,” said Patterson. “We have to make sure that the members of our department have the training opportunities, resources and assets to enhance and further their careers.”

One of Patterson’s goals moving forward is officer wellness, and the emotional support side of law enforcement.

“Focusing on the best practices and resources, meeting with every member of the department and keeping a pulse on their wellness and wellbeing,” said Patterson. “We equip them, train them, and we need to be sure we follow through on the emotional support side and the resources it takes to deal with things they experience day-to-day.”