One of Tennessee’s most distinguished lawmen has died. Former TBI director Larry Wallace died at his Athens, Tn., home on Saturday after a short bout with cancer. He was 77.
The Athens native was head of the TBI from 1992 to 2003. He also headed the Tennessee Highway Patrol and later provided help to the Chattanooga and Cleveland Police Departments.
Smith Funeral Home at Athens, Tn., is in charge of arrangements.
Former Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland said, “We say goodbye today to a dear friend of over 50 years.
Former TBI Director Larry Wallace died peacefully today at his home. This photo says it all. Taken Nov 19, 2021 when we were both in good health and enjoying time with friends . It reminds us to cherish each day because we don’t know what tomorrow holds but we do know who holds tomorrow. See you in heaven. Rest in peace dear friend.”
A Distinguished Career
1964 – Started at the Athens Police Department
1967 – Appointed as a State Trooper
1973 – Promoted to Special Agent with the TBI
1976 – Took a leave of absence from the TBI to return home to Athens, after which he was twice elected Sheriff of McMinn County
1979 – Named “Sheriff of the Year” by the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association
1980 – Returned to the TBI
1984 – Promoted to Special Agent in Charge of the Criminal Investigation Division
1987 – Appointed as Colonel and Commanding Officer of the Tennessee Highway Patrol
1988 – Named Deputy Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Safety
1992 – Governor Ned Ray McWherter appointed Dr. Wallace to a six-year term as Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, making him the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the state
1994 – Led the TBI to become the third state criminal investigative agency in the U.S. to receive international accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors
1998 – Governor Don Sundquist reappointed Dr. Wallace to a second six-year term as Director of the TBI
2003 – Retired as the TBI Director during Governor Phil Bredesen’s administration
2004 – Hired as a TWU faculty member to develop and teach the Criminal Justice program. He was hired by then Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker as a consultant. He was later offered the chief position, but in the end, the job went to Steve Parks.
2005 – Joined the University leadership team as the Vice President for External Affairs
2007 – Transitioned to the Vice President for Administration
2010 – Promoted to Senior Vice President for Administration
2014 - Present – Judicially appointed as the foreman of the McMinn County Grand Jury
2015 – Retired from TWU; hired as a special consultant to the Cleveland City Council
2016 – Became an independent law enforcement consultant; awarded his honorary doctorate from Tenn. Wesleyan University
2017 - Present – Became a member of the TWU Board of Trustees; accepted a job as an agency staff member at Athens Insurance