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City Manager Bill Sorah announced the appointment of Matt Austin as the next chief of the Bristol Tennessee Police Department. Austin first joined the department as an officer in 1991. Throughout his 30-year career in law enforcement, he has served in numerous capacities including as a narcotics investigator, school resource officer, patrol captain and SWAT team leader. He advanced through the ranks of sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and most recently to the rank of major where, since 2013, he has overseen the department’s Operations Bureau, comprised of the Patrol and Criminal Investigations Divisions. Austin has served as interim chief since June following the retirement of long-time Chief Blaine Wade.
Chief Austin is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, an alumni of the FBI National Academy and a member of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police. He holds an Associate of Applied Science in police science from Virginia Highlands Community College and a Bachelor of Science in organizational management from Tusculum University.
“Chief Austin possesses a strong record of progressive leadership, as well as an extensive breadth and depth of experience across all aspects of law enforcement,” said Sorah. “He is a principled, deliberate decision-maker, and has earned respect as a leader both within the department and throughout our community. I have the utmost confidence in his ability to further advance the high standards and tradition of excellence as chief of our nationally accredited police department.”
“The greatest honor of my career has been to serve alongside the dedicated men and women of the Bristol Tennessee Police Department,” said Austin. “I feel equal parts humbled and excited by the opportunity to now lead this extraordinary department into the future. I am ready for any challenges or opportunities that may lie ahead, and will work tirelessly to ensure that Bristol continues to be a safe place to live, work and visit.”
Austin and his wife Kim have two adult children and three grandchildren. In his time out of uniform, he enjoys spending time with his family and coaching local youth sports.