City of Harriman welcomes new police chief

Harriman Police Chief Derek Pacifico

HARRIMAN (WATE) – The city of Harriman welcomed a new chief of Police on Monday.

Derek Pacifico was chosen a few weeks ago to lead the department. The news came a few months after their former chief abruptly announced his retirement.

Previous story: Harriman police chief announces retirement amid ethics investigation

By mid-October the department was ready to move forward. Chief Pacifico says he came to Tennessee years ago to pick up a murder suspect. He worked side by side with East Tennessee law enforcement and after spending time on the investigation here, he wanted to make it home.

“I put the badge on today for the first time and we walked in, ready to work,” said Chief Pacifico.

It was a busy morning, meeting with officers in the Harriman Police Department discussing overall where they are and where they need to go.

“Right now some of the tools that they need, they don’t have. Some of the training to use tools, that are very common, they don’t have. And that needs to change immediately,” added Chief Pacifico.

In the past, Chief Pacifico spent 22 years in law enforcement in California. He retired for two years and then from 2014 to 2016 he worked as a criminal justice teacher at Farragut High School.

“I had done a lot of training here at Harriman. I am familiar with the department, I’m familiar with at least half the personnel here,” he added.

Chief Pacifico says there are already plans on what needs to happen over the next year.

“Biggest goal is training, making sure that these officers go home unharmed at the end of their shift.”

Along with that, the department hopes to recruit and hire officers over the coming months.

“Community policing, they’re doing it well. We’re going to do it better, but the officers know people in town. They know the business leaders,” said Chief Pacifico.

While there was a wait to get a new leader, he says the Harriman Police Department has done well.

“I’m excited to get going. I trust them. They trust me. We’re working on this together,” he said.

Over the coming weeks, Chief Pacifico will be meeting with the Roane County sheriff, as well as fellow chiefs of police and the district attorney. He plans on holding a “getting to know you” event for the community soon.

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