Rest In Peace, Larry Wallace

Saturday, August 6, 2022
Larry Wallace
Larry Wallace

Athens and Tennessee lost a great friend and a long-time public servant when Larry Wallace passed away Saturday afternoon.

 

The 1962 McMinn County High School graduate started his lifetime law enforcement career with the Athens Police Department in 1964.

 

He joined the Tennessee Highway Patrol in 1967 and was appointed as a special agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in 1973.

 

He took some time off from the TBI in 1976, returning to Athens where he served two terms as McMinn County sheriff.

 

He returned to the TBI in 1980 and in 1984 was appointed Special Agent in Charge of the Criminal Investigation Division.

 

In 1987 Larry was appointed as Colonel and Commanding Officer of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, a year later was appointed Deputy Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Safety.

Larry became the state’s highest ranking law enforcement officer in 1992 when Governor Ned Ray McWherter appointed him to a six-year term as Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Governor Don Sundquist appointed him to a second six-year term in 1998.

 

Larry retired as TBI director in 2003, returning to Athens to develop and teach the Criminal Justice department at Tennessee Wesleyan University, where he remained until 2015, also serving as Vice President for External Affairs, Vice President for Administration and Senior Vice President for Administration.

 

TWU awarded Larry an honorary doctorate degree in 2016, a year later made him a member of the board of trustees.

 

Larry also served as consultants to the Cleveland and Chattanooga police departments in their searches for police chiefs. Bob Corker, who was mayor of Chattanooga in 2004, wanted to hire Wallace as chief, but Larry withdrew his name from consideration.

 

Larry, who never smoked, had been battling lung cancer and Parkinson’s disease. He died at his home.

 

Personally, Larry and I had been friends since the 60’s. I can honestly say I never knew a nicer, more professionally honest man.

 

A true giant… and a life well lived.

 

Rest in peace, Larry Wallace.

 

10-7.

 

End of watch.

 

Darrell Patterson, retired WTVC TV sportscaster 

Larry Wallace with former Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland
Larry Wallace with former Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland

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