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'Pappy' hangs up duty belt for last time at DPS

Sunday, February 10, 2008

(Photo)
Retired Sikeston Department of Public Safety Office Jerry Alley, known by many as "Pappy," speaks during his retirement ceremony.
SIKESTON -- With "mixed emotions," the Sikeston Department of Public Safety announces the retirement of Officer Jerry Alley after 18 years of service.

In a recent news release, Sgt. Jim McMillen, DPS public information officer, called Alley , also known as "Pappy" to many, "one of our finest officers."

A retirement ceremony was held for Alley by Chief Drew Juden on Dec. 28. There, Juden addressed Alley, his family, the department and others in a formal presentation.

In his speech, Juden spoke very highly of Alley, recalling their first meeting in 1978. At this time, Alley was a clerk at Quick Check on East Malone. Alley was a wealth of knowledge for police then and still is today. This was and is mainly due to his innate ability to develop an understanding with just about anyone and his ability to communicate with people. For some reason everyone wants to talk to Jerry. Whenever he had a chance to help police or the City of Sikeston, Jerry would. Juden said that through it all, Jerry has been a good friend and a very strong individual.

Alley began his 23-year career with DPS on Sept. 3, 1985 as a dispatcher for Sikeston Public Safety. He remained in this capacity for about three years, when he asked to be transferred to patrol. Alley completed his academy training in May 1988 and a month later, he was reassigned to patrol division. Unfortunately, McMillen wrote, Jerry left Sikeston in 1990 to work for another department.

"It took almost four years, but we were able to get Jerry back in August of 1994," said McMillen. "Jerry remained with our department until he retired in December, spending 18 of his 23 years of service with Sikeston."

In the ceremony, Juden remarked how well Officer Alley excelled in every aspect of his job. In 1997, Officer Alley was promoted to Field Training Officer and took on the task of mentoring young officers. During his career, Alley received several awards, but it was in 1997 that he was selected as Officer of the Year for Sikeston DPS.

From 1997 to 2004, Alley trained numerous new officers. It was at this capacity, Officer Alley became known as "Pappy," a nickname that is still used to this day. "This nickname no doubt came from Alley's teaching/training abilities and the sharing of his life long experiences," said McMillen.

"It didn't matter if you were his subordinate, co-worker, or superior, you can't help but respect him. He is a man of high moral fiber and always seems to do the right thing," said McMillen. "Being a supervisor myself, I can recall several instances where I would seek him out for advice. He was always there for anyone who came to him with a problem. Even when he didn't have an answer to the problem, you would often leave feeling a little bit better."

Jerry married his high school sweetheart, Sarah, in 1981 and they are still together after 26 years. He always speaks about her in the highest regard. Together they have six children and ten grandchildren. Perhaps this is another explanation why he is referred to as "Pappy."

Together, they have suffered many hardships during his career. In the last few years, Jerry has had a total knee replacement on both knees, battled colon cancer and helped his wife overcome stomach cancer. Juden put it best when he said Jerry always gave 110 percent, no matter what was going on in his personal life.

"Often, you would not even realize that he was going through so much adversity," said McMillen. "Even when others worried about his health, he never complained and many times took on more responsibility. He is a man to admire."

In 2004, Officer Alley took on another role with the department as a school resource officer, in which he served until his retirement. During this time, his supervisor had nothing but the highest regard for him as an officer and as a person.

Alley was assigned as the resource officer for the alternative school and took ownership of this new position, often referring to the students at his school as being "his kids." He was frequently bragging about how "his kids" excelled or achieved a recent accomplishment.

At the ceremony, Sikeston's Honor Guard brought Officer Alley forward for an award presentation. Juden presented him with a "Distinguished Service Medal" for his years of outstanding service with Sikeston DPS.

Juden also offered Alley a grandfather clock, as is done with all retiring officers. The clock has Sikeston Public Safety's emblem with an engraving of Alley's years of service. As a final show of gratitude, Juden allowed Alley to retain his duty weapon, which he carried for so many years with our department.

"We will all miss Officer Jerry Alley. We all wish him well in his newly found retirement," said McMillen. "We are saddened about this departure, but we are grateful for his loyalty and his friendship. Thanks again, 'Pappy.'"