It’s been a busy year for Zionsville Police Chief Rob Knox as he rounds out his first year in the position.
Knox will celebrate his one year anniversary as chief on Aug. 5. He said he and his department have worked hard to make the police department a better agency.
“It’s not just me, it’s a team effort,” Knox said. “They are incredible, and I am so proud of all those folks.”
Knox hit the ground running. Within his first year as chief, he completed an internal review of the department, went through several position changes, updated their policies and procedures and have made better relationships with outside agencies.
“It seemed like the year went by pretty fast,” he said. “I feel like we have made significant headway on some issues within our department. The department as a whole has pulled together, and the morale is a lot better. We have really tried to cooperate and work better with outside agencies, more than we had been.”
Knox said his department joined the Boone County Fatal Accident Crash Team, the special response team and the Hamilton/Boone County Drug Task Force.
In September, Jeff Morris was promoted to captain and second in command. Morris has been with ZPD for 28 years. His most recent position was technical officer or head of the information technology department.
In February, Josh Samuelson was promoted to detective. He was a patrolman and has been with the department for two years.
Also in February, Det. Charles White was promoted to sergeant of the criminal investigations department. He has been with the department for 16 years.
Stephen Kimbrough was named a new reserve officer in February.
Knox said a major challenge for him has been the budget. In December, the Zionsville Town Council was advised to cut nearly $584,000 from their budget. The largest reduction came from the police department. The police department made $250,000 in cuts by eliminating some positions.
“We cut $53,000 for not replacing the assistant chief of police,” Knox said during a Dec. 19 council meeting. “We also saved money by not replacing a patrolman that will be promoted to detective.”
Despite the cuts, Knox says he believes the department has done a good job with trimming the budget.
“It’s been very time consuming,” Knox said. “I’ve worked a lot of long hours.”
Knox said he doesn’t think he could have done it without his staff and town employees.
“It’s a huge responsibility,” he said. “I am fortunate enough to work with not just the police department but the whole town. Zionsville is just an amazing place and not a hard town to police. It’s very unique. These people are proud of their town and have so much community involvement.”
Knox says he plans to work with the residents by continuing special events such as the Teen Academy, which recently finished up its fourth year. The Teen Academy program is designed to give teenagers experience of being in the police academy. An upcoming event the police department has headed is the National Night Out from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7, at Boone Village Shopping Center.
He also said he hopes the neighborhood crime watch program will be a success. The department has been looking at starting the program since the end of last year with the goal to make the town safer and help bridge the gap between ZPD and the community.
Although a year has passed, Knox looks forward to serving another year in his capacity. He says his main priorities include training and equipping officers and working with the community by directing and answering their needs.
“I want to do everything I can to have the officers trained and equipped so they can go home safely after each shift,” he said. “No two days are ever the same. You never know what tomorrow is going to bring. I feel lucky and blessed to have this opportunity. I can’t think of a better place in the world to be a police officer and a better community to serve.”
Knox has been with the Zionsville Police Department for 29 years; 33 years as a police officer. He served as a reserve officer for a year with ZPD and then served as a full time police officer in Lebanon. In 1984, he left Lebanon and came back to work for Zionsville. He has served as an officer, a deputy marshal and then a captain before he took the role as chief. Knox said when he started as a reserve officer in Zionsville, there were five officers. There are now 34 officers and have six more in the police academy.