Church celebrates one year as JCPD chief

May 23, 2024

Church celebrates one year as JCPD chief

Today marks one year since City Manager Cathy Ball announced Billy Church as Chief of the Johnson City Police Department. Since that time, Chief Church has spearheaded multiple initiatives to enhance the Police Department and elevate its service to the community.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve our community. It has been a year of learning and growth. I am thankful for the outstanding work of our officers and the support of our community. Together, we have made strides toward enhancing safety and fostering positive change in our City. I am excited about the journey ahead and remain dedicated to serving with integrity, empathy, excellence and transparency,” said Chief Church.

During Church’s first year as police chief, several visible changes have taken place within the JCPD. Facial hair and tattoo policies changed, and so have uniforms. The changes boosted morale within the department. In a recent employee survey, 94% of JCPD employees participating said they are satisfied with their jobs.

Changes under Church’s tenure have elevated the operational excellence of the JCPD. A new command staff was put into place shortly after Church was named chief. Officers are undergoing additional training which includes trauma-informed policing, as well as Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT). The Department recently implemented a consolidated reporting system (WATSON), which allows officers to access numerous pieces of case information from one location.

Under the Chief’s guidance, the Department also established an Office of Professional Standards, providing greater oversight of officer training and conduct. All officers are also equipped with body cameras, which increases transparency and accountability in JCPD operations.

Some of the changes on Chief Church’s watch that he highlights as significant accomplishments include the creation of the Special Victims Unit (SVU), the addition of a Homeless Outreach Coordinator, and opening a downtown substation. The SVU, made up of five investigators, focuses on sexual assault cases, crimes involving children, and crimes involving vulnerable populations within our community. The Homeless Outreach Coordinator connects members of our homeless population with organizations that provide vital services that can enhance their quality of life. The downtown substation is a response to the community’s requests for more police presence downtown. The substation has allowed for faster response times to calls and increased police accessibility and visibility in the downtown area.

City Manager Cathy Ball reflected on Chief Church’s first year as the head of the JCPD: “Under Chief Church’s guidance, the Police Department has undergone ambitious changes and set a remarkable standard for excellence. I commend him, his command staff, and all the men and women of the JCPD for taking our community to the next level in terms of safety.”

Church said the first year was only the beginning.

“The men and women of your Johnson City Police Department have achieved significant milestones over the past year, and we are determined in our commitment to progress,” he said. “We want to keep moving forward to better serve the people of Johnson City. Our ultimate goal is to always protect our community with excellence, dedication and integrity.”