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Funeral for former Riverdale police chief Monday

Thetus Knox

Thetus Knox

RIVERDALE — Funeral services for former Riverdale police chief Thetus Knox were held Monday at the Cascade United Methodist Church in Atlanta.

Knox, 63, died Sunday of cancer and is being remembered for her knowledge and leadership.

She began working for the City of Riverdale on Sept. 27, 2004. She retired from the police department on Oct. 2, 2007, after working to reorganize and professionalize the Riverdale Police Department, said Riverdale City Manager Iris Jessie. Jessie hired Knox to work for the department.

“I hired her because of her expertise, she was a deputy police chief for Atlanta,” Jessie said. “I thought it would be awesome and beneficial for the city the size of Riverdale to have a professional such as Chief Knox. She brought a wealth of information, resources and new concepts to the city that we are still using today.”

Jessie said Knox shared her talents with Clayton County while serving as a member on the advisory board of the Leadership Clayton.

According to Jessie, Knox created Police and Citizens Together (PACT), an organization where citizens could receive training on police operations and gain a better understanding of public safety initiatives. She implemented the concept of Community Oriented Policing, assigning police officers to specific neighborhoods and business districts.

Riverdale Police Chief Samuel Patterson said he worked with Knox on the Atlanta Police Department.

“She was my mentor,” Patterson said. “She looked out for me. I am who I am because of her.”

Patterson said Knox provided leadership for him at APD when he was promoted to sergeant and was assigned to her command on Feb. 6, 1996. At that time, Knox was a major at APD zone four.

Patterson said his most vivid memory of Knox is when APD changed its policy for taking people into custody.

“It was October 2002, when Chief Knox told me that we were going to change the arrest procedures for the department,” Patterson said. “And, it had to be implemented Jan. 1, 2003, and we changed the entire procedure within two months. She asked me if we could do it and I responded, ‘Yes, ma’am.’ ”

Patterson acknowledged he often responded to Knox with “Yes, ma’am.”

“I didn’t get a day off until after the new arrest procedures were implemented,” he said, chuckling.

Knox and Patterson retired from APD and continued their careers in Riverdale.

“She asked me to come here and be her assistant police chief,” he added.