Mayor Indya Kincannon has appointed LaKenya R. Middlebrook, a respected community leader and an attorney, to serve as Executive Director of the City’s Police Advisory & Review Committee (PARC).
“LaKenya has a long legacy of service to our community,” said Mayor Kincannon. “Her life experiences, her work as an attorney and community champion, and her service on PARC make her uniquely qualified to lead this important organization. I am confident that she is the right person to help Knoxville as we navigate difficult discussions and continue to redefine how we look at public safety.”
PARC, created in 1998, is comprised of seven volunteers served by a full-time executive director hired by the Mayor. It provides an independent review of police activity and makes recommendations to the Chief of Police.
“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to serve as Executive Director of the Knoxville Police Advisory & Review Committee,” Middlebrook said. “For more than two decades, PARC has worked to demand accountability, increase transparency, and build improved relationships between the Knoxville Police Department and our communities. Those charged with the responsibility to protect and serve can only be effective in doing so if our communities trust that protection and service will be administered fairly, justly and equitably.
“I look forward to working in partnership with residents, community groups, advocates, PARC members, Mayor Kincannon, City Council and the Knoxville Police Department to ensure that individuals continue to have a voice in examining and shaping the policies and practices of the Police Department and that policing in Knoxville becomes a model for effective community-centered policing."
Mayor Kincannon praised Ola Blackmon-McBride for her service as Interim Executive Director, as well as all who applied for the PARC directorship, saying,
“I am grateful and impressed that so many individuals with strong records of community service view the work of PARC as crucial and are committed to strengthening its independent review and oversight.”
Middlebrook earned her bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Kentucky in 2002 and her law degree from the University of Tennessee in 2006.
She has worked in private practice as an attorney from 2008 to 2010 and from 2012 to the present. In-between, she’d served as director of the YWCA Phyllis Wheatley Center.
She serves on the Knox County Foster Care Review Board, on the board of Girl Talk, and as co-chair of the local NAACP’s Housing Committee.
Middlebrook will start as PARC’s fourth Executive Director on July 13. Prior to then, she will be stepping down as a PARC committee member and as the chair of the local Democratic Party.
PARC’s last permanent director, Clarence L. Vaughn III, left in April 2020 to join the University of Tennessee Haslam College of Business as Director of Diversity and Community Relations.