Nashville – Governor Phil Bredesen today announced the retirement of Larry Wallace, Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Wallace, whose law enforcement career has spanned nearly 40 years, will step down November 30.
“I greatly appreciate Larry’s dedication and the many years he has served our state,” Bredesen said. “I wish him all the best as he enters this new phase of his life.”
Wallace, 58, said he leaves the office as he entered it, "with the utmost respect for the agency and its mission."
“I have devoted my life to law enforcement, so I have mixed emotions as my retirement nears,” Wallace said. “A great trust was placed in me, and I have tried to honor that trust.”
As required by statute, David Jennings, the deputy director in charge of the TBI’s Criminal Investigation Division, will serve as acting director, while a nominating commission considers Wallace’s successor. The nominating commission will consist of five people. The Speakers of the Tennessee House and Senate each appoint two members. The fifth member is the executive director of the District Attorneys General Conference. The Governor will select a new director from the three names submitted by the commission. The Governor’s appointee will complete Wallace’s six-year term, which ends in seven months.
In 1992, Governor Ned McWherter appointed Wallace TBI Director. In 1998, Governor Don Sundquist reappointed him to a second term. Wallace continued his second term with the inauguration of Governor Bredesen this past January.
Wallace began his law enforcement career in 1964 with the Athens Police Department. In 1967, he was appointed to the Tennessee Highway Patrol and became a special agent with the TBI in 1973. He later took a leave of absence from the Bureau and was twice elected McMinn County Sheriff. In 1979, he was named Tennessee Sheriff of the Year by the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association.
In 1980, Wallace returned to the TBI and four years later was promoted to Special Agent in Charge of the Criminal Investigation Division. He remained in that capacity until 1987, when he was appointed as Colonel and Commanding Officer of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The following year, Wallace was named Deputy Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Safety.
Wallace holds a bachelor of science degree from Middle Tennessee State University and a master’s degree in criminal justice administration from Tennessee State University. He is also a graduate of the prestigious FBI National Executive Institute.
Wallace and his wife, Katie, plan to move back to their hometown of Athens, Tennessee. The Wallaces’ have three children and three grandchildren.