KNOXVILLE — Knoxville FBI Special Agent in Charge Renae McDermott has been promoted nearly two years after she took over as the first female to ever lead the Knoxville Field Office.
McDermott was promoted to serve as the Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI's Training Division at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
She will oversee a variety of training programs for FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration agents.
She's set to report to new assignment in August.
“The people of East Tennessee are among the most welcoming I’ve ever experienced,” McDermott said. “I am proud to have been able to serve with some of the finest people in local, state and federal law enforcement here in the Knoxville Field Office. I know I will miss it here, but I am excited for the next chapter of my career, serving at Quantico.”
McDermott started with the FBI in 1989 as a police officer and worked her way up to agent and team leader. She held positions in Dallas, Albuquerque and at the headquarters in Washington D.C. Her previous assignment was Special Assistant to former FBI Director James Comey.
Growing up in Pittsburgh, she didn't always dream of fighting terrorists. In fact, at one point in her childhood, she wanted to be farmer. During her college career, she discovered she wanted to help children.
"I knew I wanted to be a public servant after I went through the not being a dairy farmer, a veterinarian or a teacher. I ended up finding a good niche with the FBI," McDermott said.
She's worked in counter-terrorism and cyber crimes but she said the bulk of her background is in fighting violent crime.
"The most proud (moment of my career) was probably an investigation that happened when I was initially an agent in Miami. A kidnapping of a mother and two sons at Christmastime. We worked diligently on it for a week and we recovered them alive. That has been and will be one of the highlights early on in my career," she said.
She said she's also proud of her time embedded in Iraq in the mid-2000s. She can't talk about the details but McDermott was in charge of a team of interrogators who helped bring terrorists to prosecution.