Updates and Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Skip to main content

KNOXVILLE — Assistant Chief Debbie Perry has been named the interim chief of the UT Police Department. Perry replaces former Chief August Washington, who has been named the new chief of police and assistant vice chancellor for Vanderbilt University, and will serve his last day at UT on July 24.

Interim UT Police Chief Deborah Perry
Interim UT Police Chief Deborah Perry
Perry has more than 27 years of law enforcement experience and has been with UT for more than 29 years. She currently manages more than 100 law enforcement and security personnel for the UT Knoxville campus.

Perry began her career with the UTPD as a complaint processor for the communication section. She became a patrol officer and later worked for several years as an investigator in the detective section.

Perry left UTPD briefly for 3 years in 1990 to work for the United Stated Office of Personnel Management conducting federal background checks for security clearance positions. She returned to UT as a supervisor for Parking Services in 1993. In 1995 she returned to UTPD and was promoted to assistant chief of police in 1997.

Perry has helped coordinate the accreditation process for UTPD, which involved a comprehensive evaluation of the department’s ability to prevent and respond to crime, deliver services and cooperate with other law enforcement agencies, among other standards. The department expects to receive national accreditation from Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement (CALEA) on Aug. 1, 2009. Additionally, she is the commander of the Investigative and Record Sections.

Washington began at UT in July 2005. In his four years at UT, he has implemented a career path for the department to decrease turnover and focus on development and advancement. Other improvements include enhancements to department communications, community relations, the campus security program and community outreach. He also has been instrumental in the department’s bid for accreditation through CALEA.

Prior to joining UTPD, Washington was the deputy director of safety and security for the University of Southern California. He has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience. He has a bachelor’s degree in general studies with a focus on behavioral science from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Grambling State University. He also has taught college level criminal justice courses and has extensive training on crime prevention, emergency preparedness and community policing.


Kristi Hintz, (865-974-3993, khintz@utk.edu)