KINGSPORT - Kingsport's fifth police chief in 43 years was sworn in Monday afternoon.
Gale Osborne took over the Kingsport Police Department in October 2006, working as interim chief following Chief Mark Addington's retirement.
Addington and former Chief Jim Keesling pinned the five stars of the chief position onto Osborne's lapels Monday.
"A sign of a well-run city is having qualified applicants on staff who are ready to step into the top leadership role, especially within police and fire," said City Manager John Campbell.
Hired Feb 16, 1980, Osborne is a Model City native.
He started as a patrolman, working his way up to corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, and, in August 1993, captain of operations.
"From day one, my goal was to prepare with a formal education, an associate's in law enforcement and bachelor's in administration, plus attending the FBI academy," Osborne said.
He served more than 20 years in the SWAT team, worked as sergeant over training, watch commander, captain of operations over patrol, detective, vice, community policing, explosives disposal, and special operations.
Osborne was promoted to deputy chief of administration in 1995 and deputy chief of operations in 1999.
"This has been a long-term goal," Osborne said of the five stars.
Osborne was one of three KPD officers who applied for the top job.
Deputy Chief David Quillin and Lt. Bud Hulsey also sought the position.
The candidates were interviewed by a panel that included Bristol Police Chief Blaine Wade, former Tennessee Public Safety Commissioner Fred Phillips, former Johnson City Public Safety Director Charlie Harmon, Human Resources Director Barbara Duncan, and Campbell.
Osborne said he believes the partnerships made between Kingsport's leadership and those in the community are paying off.
"This is a great time for the city," he said. "Kingsport is moving in a positive manner due to a combined effort in the community."
That was a partnership between Weed and Seed, the Kingsport Housing Authority and the police department to place cameras in the community.
"We've had about an 84 percent reduction in calls with the implementation of cameras," he said.
They have been so successful that more are being added to Lee Apartments, and cameras will go in at Cloud Apartments later this year.
The department recently started using CompStat. The computer program allows officers to share intelligence among departments and shifts.
"With this, we can collect and analyze statistics," Osborne said. "It ensures everyone knows what is going on. It is a great way to share intelligence. That's been a welcome sight for us."
The department will also put an emphasis on community policing.
"The community is eyes and ears for us," he said. "We have to partner with people and business and fire and emergency. We need to treat people like they would want to be treated if the roles were reversed."
Osborne will be chief over 105 sworn officers, a total of 166 people.