Knoxville Police Officer Sam Brown, who has served as the KPD liaison to the University of Tennessee Football Program for almost two decades, has been removed from the position.
Officer Fred Kimber is taking his place, according to the Knoxville Police Department.
KPD officials said that Brown, who is retiring from the department at the end of January, did nothing wrong.
But, there were concerns about a phone call he made in November 2014 when then-football players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams were accused of rape. At the time, Brown made what police have said was a courtesy call to Football Coach Butch Jones, letting him know that the players were under investigation.
“We decided to implement the change as a result of the reported concerns that were highlighted regarding the relationship of the Knoxville Police Department and the University of Tennessee Football Program,” KPD Chief David Rausch said in a written statement. “In order for the program to move on and avoid further undue scrutiny, it was agreed that we should make the transition at this time.”
For 19 years, Brown provided security for the football team’s head coach, the team and its staff.
Rausch called him a “mentor and guide to the young men in the program” and said he “has provided excellent professional service.”
“In order for the program to move on and avoid further undue scrutiny, it was agreed that we should make the transition at this time,” Rausch added. “We appreciate the outstanding and tenured service of Officer Brown and he is held in the utmost highest regard by all in our community. He is a man of great integrity and has been a dedicated public servant to the Knoxville community.”
WBIR 10News has reached out to Brown for comment.
Kimber will take Brown's place, according to KPD's Public Information Officer Darrell DeBusk.
KPD will continue to provide support and security for the UT Football Program in partnership with the UT Police Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.