The vision of the Knoxville Public Safety Foundation (KPSF) began in 2010 at the Knoxville Police Department (KPD) by then Chief Sterling Owen. The purpose was to provide financial assistance to deserving public safety professionals and their immediate family members in a time of distress. KPD Deputy Chief Gus Paidousis researched Foundations around the country, assembled various options for the KPSF and contributed significantly to the final product. A proposed set of By-Laws was created and the Knox County Sheriff’s Department (KCSD), Knoxville Fire Department (KFD) and University of Tennessee Police Department (UTPD) were invited to join the KPD as the Foundation “core agencies.” Executive Assistant Sherry Smith of the Knoxville Family Justice Center contributed tirelessly to the successful application for a 501 (c) (3) IRS tax status and all of the necessary permits and certifications. KPD Sergeant Brad Cox assisted with proposed graphic designs. A distinguished volunteer Board of Directors was identified and agreed to serve. The initial Board members included UTPD Chief Gloria Graham, KCSD Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones, KPD Chief David Rausch, KFD Chief Stan Sharp, Dale Allen, Lysette Aviles, Jim Bush, Charlie Daniel, Sam Furrow, J.E. Henry, Hallerin Hill, Raja Jubran, Norman Majors, Alvin Nance, Sterling Owen, Gloria Ray, Mintha Roach, Steve South and Bob Talbott.
In the spring of 2011, approvals were obtained from the appropriate governmental bodies and the Board met for the first time on June 30, 2011 to conduct business and elect Officers. Also an Executive Committee was appointed to conduct the business of establishing the infrastructure of the KPSF. The first Executive Committee included UTPD Chief Graham, Sheriff Jones, KPD Chief Rausch, KFD Chief Sharp, newly elected Board President Sterling Owen, Board Vice-President Lysette Aviles-Kok, and Board member J.E. Henry. Norman Majors was elected as Board Treasurer and Steve South as Board Secretary and both were invited to attend all Executive Committee meetings in view of their Board Officer Positions and active involvement with the creation of the Foundation.
J.E. Henry and Mike Hill of IT 4 the Planet began the process of establishing the Foundation website. Mary Gallant of Gallant Designworks designed and produced the website.