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"To make Athens a safe and comfortable place to live, work, and raise a family."

If I have questions about police policies or anything related to the police department what should I do?
If you have questions regarding anything police department related, from understanding why something happened during your traffic stop, comparing what other departments in the country are doing compared to APD, or maybe you just heard something at a council meeting and want a more detailed answer. Contact Lt. Steven Thomas at 423-744-2732 or Lt. Blake Witt at 423-744-2739 to set up a meeting or get an answer to any questions you may have.

Does APD operate their own Dispatch Center?
 The Athens Police Department does not operate their own dispatch center.  All dispatch services are provided by McMinn County  911.  This organization is located at a separate location from the Police Department and provides services in exchange for payment set forth in a contract.  Dispatch is also not controlled by the police department; they are governed by a board whose members are appointed by the McMinn County Mayor.  If you call the Athens Police Department to report a crime, the person who answers the phone will likely have to connect you with the Dispatch Center in order to ensure that your request can be relayed to officers in the field.  

Why does Athens have a Police Department and a Sheriff's Office?

Most states (including Tennessee) divide themselves into counties.  They do this because the state government knows it can’t run everything from Nashville.  Counties are the “arm of the state”.  Each county is required by the state to fulfill certain necessary functions.  They have to run a courthouse,  maintain records, collect taxes, prosecute violations of state law, house prisoners in a jail, provide basic roads and bridges, record deeds, and other basic government functions.

When a certain area of the county becomes especially populated, the people in that area sometimes decide they want extra services, in addition to what the county is providing them.  That’s when a city gets formed.  Cities provide services above and beyond what the county provides.  These services may include more sidewalks, more parks, better streetlights, and sometimes extra law enforcement patrol.

That’s what a Police Department is typically for.  The McMinn County Sheriff’s Office is an agency required to exist as part of the system set up by the state, and they perform a wide range of functions.  Although some of their manpower is dedicated to patrolling the streets of McMinn County, they also have to run the jail, transport prisoners, and perform various judicial functions like serving court papers.

In addition to doing all of the above functions, the dedicated Deputies at the MCSO have a vast area of land to patrol (over 400 square miles).  At some point, the citizens of Athens decided they wanted more law enforcement coverage in their particular part of the county (which is now only about 15 square miles of that massive county).  That’s why the Athens Police Department exists.

The Sheriff’s Office does have jurisdiction in Athens and their duties sometimes overlap with those of the Police Department.  However, these two agencies have very different functions and are not simply copies of one another.

Questions About Parking

Check Out Our Downtown Parking Regulations.
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How do I pay a citation?
If you have received a traffic citation from The Athens Police Department you have several options available.  You can appear in Athens Municipal Court to pay the citation or set a trial date for a hearing on your case.  Your municipal court date is printed on your citation and will be either a Monday or Wednesday at 4 p.m.  Citations may also be paid in the clerks office of the police department or online here.  If you choose to pay your citation online, after being directed to the secure site, choose "Athens" from the list of cities in the drop down box and when prompted to enter the "court info" enter the citation number printed on your citation.

How do I get a copy of my report?
All reports are handled by the records department. Due to state regulations many reports cannot be released until a records request form is completed and processed. If you have questions regarding the status of your report or records request you can contact the records clerk for any assistance here

Are You Being Pulled Over?
What To Do When An Officer Pulls You Over.
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Are You Street Legal?
Check And See Before You Get Pulled Over.
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Child Safety
The Athens Police Department Supports Efforts To Keep Your Children Safe. Check Out The Polly Klaas Foundation For More Information
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Interested in becoming a police officer for the City of Athens?  The Athens Police Department is always looking for motivated intelligent candidates to join our team. Anyone interested in applying is encouraged to apply at the Human Resources Department.

Complaint process
If a citizen wishes to file a complaint on an officer of The Athens Police Department they are encouraged to do so by either speaking with any APD supervisor in person, by telephone, or by letter or email, or asking any officer or clerk for a citizen complaint form and completing the form and returning it. If the complainants contact information is provided they will be contacted by an administrative officer once the investigation has been completed.

community Education opportunities
Athens Police Department has partnered with local business owners to provide informational books for the community. There is a 4-part series aimed towards adults and another series aimed towards children. To obtain a copy or to have an officer host a presentation, please contact the Athens Police Department- 423-744-2730.
Empowering Young Minds                    Adult Citizen Education Series            

Our Town


Service Area: 13.9 Square Miles Service
Population: 13,489 per 2012 census