The City of Lafayette will lose one of its distinguished leaders, when Police Chief Jerry Dallas, retires at the end of the month. Serving his community for over three and a half decades, he will take with him a wealth of memories, including both happy and challenging times. A man who was more than just a police officer, he leaves behind his stamped imprint on the force, where he influenced the career paths of many young patrolmen, with his knowledge and experience.A graduate of Macon County High School, Chief Dallas considers himself fortunate to have been born and raised in Macon County and as he pondered his lengthy career with the City of Lafayette, he recalled the early years when Buck Harris hired him as a fireman in the summer of 1974. After a couple of months with the Lafayette Fire Department, he switched to the Police Department, on the day shift, taking care of the parking meters, but in 1975 he quit.
“A man by the name of Mr. Charlie Gregory, who was fire chief, gave me another chance with the city the following year,” Dallas smiled, “and he hired me back on the fire department in 1976. I worked with them another short period of time, until I became the first full time paid dispatcher for the City of Lafayette.”
As his career evolved, Dallas dispatched for a few months, then he went on the road as a patrolman and in 1980 he was appointed as the first investigator for the city police. In 1983 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, a position in which he served until June of 2000, when he was appointed Chief of Police, to replace retiring Chief Burford Wix.
“Law enforcement was in my family, I guess you could just say it’s in my blood,” Dallas said when asked why he became a cop. “My grandfather, who I never knew, Obie Dallas, served as Macon County Sheriff in 1918; my father was elected Constable and Uncle Randall Krantz served as Chief Deputy for the Macon County Sheriffs Department for several years, as well as a police officer for the city. And my first cousin, Ronnie Krantz, also worked for the LPD for many years, including stints with other law enforcement agencies in the surrounding counties.”
Since joining the force 37 years ago, Dallas has certainly seen a lot of changes, and in some ways he describes it as easier and in other ways more difficult. “It was definitely a busy time in the early days,” Dallas laughed, “with only one or two patrol cars that would run and we worked 12 hour shifts, seven days a week. Today, we have a great police station and I believe we have one of the best-equipped departments in the State of Tennessee. We also have highly trained and motivated police officers, who are held in high esteem, which is a testimony to our standards and commitment.”
Over the years, Dallas has seen a change in the caliber of officers required to do the job well. “A good officer will go out and do his job day in and day out, no matter what the task is at hand,” Dallas explained. “No policeman likes to write tickets or arrest people, and our job is not to punish people, that’s for the courts to decide, we’re here to protect and serve the public.”
Remembering his years of service to the town, Dallas remarked, “I have loved police work and I have enjoyed my career, which I am extremely proud of. I learned early on that you can’t satisfy everybody, so I just did the best job I knew how. I’m certainly going to miss the Lafayette Police Department and the people I work with day in and day out. I have faith that our city officials will hire a new police chief with a positive attitude, who will keep the department moving forward for the good of the city and all its’ citizens.”
“As I leave the career that I have known most of my life, I would like to thank the past mayors and the city council for allowing me to serve the citizens of Lafayette for thirty-seven years and I hope that I have made a difference in at least one’s person’s life, and if I have it’s all been worth it.”
“I would like to extend a special thanks to Chief Burford Wix, for everything he did for me during my career in law enforcement. When he retired, I replaced him as Chief, and he was a very hard act to follow. He is a good man and he was a great Chief.”
“Effective June 30th, 2011, I will be stepping down from my position as Chief of Police, and I hope to spend a lot more time with my eight-month-old grandson, Jax. I wish only the best for my replacement and the Lafayette Police Department, along with all the citizens of our town. If I can ever be of any assistance to anyone, I will only be a phone call away.”
Commented Captain Ray Amalfitano, “Chief Dallas laid a good foundation for the Lafayette Police Department, and he’s been dedicated to the force and the City of Lafayette, staying on call 24-7 for 37 years. As a boss, he’s treated us all like his kids, looking out for us both on the job and off. He is well known at other agencies throughout the state and the chief is considered a top-notch investigator. He poured his life into the department and the atmosphere will definitely be different after he leaves. He will be greatly missed by all of us here at the police station, and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”
The son of Lewis and Anna Faye Krantz Dallas, Jerry is married to Neida Dallas and he has one son, Jeff Dallas; three stepchildren, Chessny Woodard, Joey Gentry and Jeremy Gentry and one grandson, Jax. He is the longest serving police officer in the City of Lafayette and the 2nd longest serving chief, next to Burford Wix, who served over 25 years.
Chief Dallas will long be remembered for his years of service to our town. The leadership he has demonstrated here has been unprecedented and he has been a true credit to the Lafayette Police Department and the City of Lafayette.