Jail Cell
  1. Home
  2. Government
  3. Police Chiefs

Police Chiefs

By Andrew Pouncey

Lon Callis   Town Marshall
Marvin Thompson 1919-1919 Town Marshall
W.P. Sandlin 1938-1949 Town Marshall
Johnny Piano 1949-1953 Town Policeman
Red   Town Policeman
Bigbee   Town Policeman
James Allen 1963-1965 Chief of Police
Bob Massey 1965-1969 Chief of Police
Sterling Maddox 1969-1973 Chief of Police
Joseph Gagliano 1973-1979 Chief of Police
Robert Cochran 1979-1989 Chief of Police
Eddie Boatwright 1989-1997 Chief of Police
Jim Fortune 1997-1999 Chief of Police
Marie Alexander 1997-1999 Chief of Police
Richard Hall 2002- Chief of Police

Jim Allen, 1963-1965

Know Your City Officials ‘News Bulletin’
By Wayne Betts, March 31, 1965

Jim Allen of 7608 Old Poplar Pike has been a resident of the Germantown Community for the past seven years.  He has been Germantown’s Chief of Police since June 11, 1963.

Likable and affable “Jim” has brought the Germantown Police Department a long way since he took over just under two years ago as its Chief and the city’s only full-time policeman at that time.  When he became Chief, he had three part-time policemen to work with, and police patrol service ended at midnight each night except for emergencies.  Under his able leadership, the Germantown Police Department has grown from one full-time policeman and three part-timers to a force of four full-time policemen and two part-time men.  An Auxiliary Emergency Police Force of 20 additional men that have been appointed and trained.  Germantown now has round-the-clock police patrol.

Chief Allen has had wide experience in Police and Security work.  Altogether, he has 14 years of experience.  Just after the war, he was in security work with the government, working with the Mallory Depot Security force for a number of years.  Just prior to becoming Germantown’s Chief of Police, he was a district manager for the Commercial Appeal in its circulation department.

During World War II, Jim Allen had quite an enviable war record and was decorated several times.  He was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division.  He served in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East during World War II.  For his service, he received the Distinguished Unit Badge, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.  He received the Purple Heart at Normandy where he jumped with the 82nd and was wounded in action on June 23, 1944.  As a paratrooper, he made numerous jumps carrying sub-machine guns in combat against the enemy.  He jumped from army transport planes and sought out enemy communications lines and destroyed them by using rifles, pistols, knives, and hand-grenades.  He was discharged from the paratroopers in August 1945.

Chief Allen received his education at Columbia Military Academy at Columbia, Tennessee when he graduated in 1939.  He attended Memphis State College for two years and graduated from the Budgetary Accounting and Disbursing School at the Air University, Montgomery, Alabama, in April 1955.

Jim Allen is a native of McComb, Miss., and married Miss Joyce Moose of Memphis in November 1945.  Jim and Joyce Allen have five children, three boys, and two girls.  Jimbo, age 18, a senior at Germantown High School; Sara, aged 17, and a junior; and Helen, age 14, a sophomore at the local high school.  The two youngest boys attend Germantown Elementary School:  Larry, age 9, is a fourth-grader; and Johnny, age 8, is in the second grade.

Chief Allen is very active in local civic affairs and clubs and is always interested in seeing that Germantown has the best of everything if it is possible. He is a member of the Germantown Lodge, the Germantown Civic Club, the Germantown Baptist Church and is active in youth work and Scouting activities.  He serves as a Troop committeeman and Counselor for Boy Scout Troop 64 of Germantown.

Jim Allen, through his tireless efforts and enthusiasm, and aggressive leadership has striven continuously to make Germantown a better place to live, to raise our children, and to give the citizens a first-class Police Department in every way.  He is well thought of and often publicly commended by other Law Enforcement agencies. He receives full cooperation from Shelby County Sheriff Bill Morris and all of the Sheriff’s department, Memphis FBI office, and the Memphis Police Department.

The citizens of Germantown are extremely lucky and fortunate to have a man such as Jim Allen, who does many things beyond the call of duty for the town and its people, to head the City’s Police Department.  This week the News-Bulletin would like to give Jim Allen a “tip of the hat” for his efforts on the part of this community and say “Thanks” for a job well done realizing that he occupies a job where “Thanks” sometimes are few and far between.

Chief Allen resigned to go into private business effective Sunday, September 26, 1965, and join the DuBoise Chemical Company.

Chief Bob Massey, 1965-1969

Bobby John Massey is New Police Chief, Germantown Star
November 4, 1965

“The New Chief of Police at Germantown is Bobby John Massey, formerly a Sheriff’s deputy who received a superb recommendation from Sheriff Morris,” said City Administrator Hugh Ford, while making the appointment.”

A native of Whitehaven, Mr. Massey currently lives at 4534 Aldridge Cove there, but intends to move to Germantown in the very near future.”  He is a graduate of Whitehaven High School and served with the United States Marine Corps on sea duty for 3 ½ years.  Mr. Massey has been employed with the Sherriff’s department since being discharged from the Corps in 1961, with the exception of a year spent in the insurance business.  While with the Sherriff’s department, he served both in the traffic and patrol divisions and was one of 15 deputies selected for assignment to the Driver Education Course, at Memphis State University.  Subsequently, he had a hand in the development of plans for the Sheriff’s Drive Education program in Shelby County.

Mr. Massey is married to the former Charlotte Johnson of Pyre, Mississippi, and has two children, Bobby John, Jr., 7, a student at Germantown, and Deborah Leigh, who is only a week and a half old.  Mrs. Massey’s parents, Mrs. and Mrs. E.M. Massey of Whitehaven, lived in Germantown from 1940-45 when they operated a service state here.

“Germantown is definitely going to grow,” Mrs. Massey said, “and there’s a lot of opportunities here for a young man looking forward as well as a lot of challenge.”  The new Chief announced plans to establish a traffic policy to coincide with that of Shelby County and coordinate the radar systems.  He took special pains to point out that the Germantown school zone would be watched “very carefully” for traffic violations and said that he would have cars stationed at the school for two hours each morning and afternoon as children enter and leave.  Other plans include patrols in the afternoon as children enter and leave.  Other plans include a general reorganization of the Department and of the Auxiliary Police.

Mr. Massey, who succeeds Chief James W. Allen, is a member of Whitehaven Methodist Church.

Chief Sterling Maddox, 1969-1973

Chief of Police Sterlin Maddox has completed several courses that are available to law enforcement officers, including the FBI course, Northwestern Traffic Course, and a bomb control course.  Patrolman Bill Maddox joined the Department July 28, 1970, following a four-year stint in the Air Force.  He has completed a five-week training course at Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy in Nashville.

Joseph S. Gagliano, 1973-1979

Germantown Hires Gagliano, The Commercial Appeal
By Robert Kellett,
September 12, 1973

Joseph S. Gagliano, a Memphis policeman for 31 years, became chief of police of Germantown yesterday.

The 52-year-old retired chief of detectives repeated his oath of office to City Judge Glenn Millar in a 2 p.m. ceremony at Germantown City Hall.

Mayor W.A. “Dub” Nance, who watched with other city officials and policemen, said Gagliano was chosen from a field of three candidates and was the unanimous choice of the board of mayor and aldermen.

Gagliano is scheduled to begin his $11,000-a-year job Saturday.  He will head a department that includes weight policemen, four dispatches, and two school crossing guards.

A resident of Shelby County all of his life, Gagliano began a colorful career with the Memphis Police Department in 1940 as a fingerprint file clerk. During his career, he headed all but two units in the department and became chief of detectives in 1969.

After his retirement on March 1, 1972, he began work as a branch manager in charge of the Guardsmark, Inc. office in Memphis, a position he held three months before leaving to start his own security firm.  His plans to privately police the River Oaks and Chickasaw Gardens areas of the city failed, however, and he entered the grocery business – a job he worked for 14 months before being named head of the Germantown Police Department on September 11, 1973.

Obviously pleased at the prospect of returning to police work, Gagliano said at the swearing-in ceremony; “I guess I never was away from it.  I was just taking a little break.”  Mayor W.A. ‘Dub’ Nance said, “some people might think a policeman is only concerned with the apprehension of those breaking the law, but Joe had compassion for everyone.  He was an outstanding lawman, and I don’t believe there’s a more dedicated or more honest officer anywhere.”

Gagliano is a graduate of Christian Brothers High School.  He and his family live in Germantown, and while earlier communicants of St. Louis Catholic Church, joined Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Germantown.  He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion.

Police Chief Joe Gagliano- The Man, Germantown News/Shelby Sun Times
By Laura Muller, April 30, 1974

The flavor, character, and reputation of a particular area are many times determined by the people who keep things from happening as well as those who make things happen.  Since 1973, Joseph S. Gagliano has been keeping undesirable things from happening and making progressive things happen for Germantown by serving as Chief of Police.

For Joe Gagliano, the boyhood dream of wanting to become a detective has encompassed a thirty-one-year period with the Memphis Police Department with a three-year service interruption.  This dream of a ghetto child of Italian parentage was a long time in the making – from a police clerk in the identification bureau to his retirement in 1972 as Chief of Detectives of Memphis.  Presently his career is again being continued as Chief of Police for Germantown.  A part of his ambition to become a policeman grew out of admiration for an officer who walked a beat near his home in Memphis when he was a small boy.  The officer was W.P. Huston, longtime Chief of Detectives in Memphis, and it was on his retirement that Gagliano was promoted to that post.

Chief Gagliano is a conservative, religious family-type man who is genuinely proud of his job and of his community.  One who knows him well might say, “If I died, he’s the kind of guy I’d like to have bring up my children.”  Chief Gagliano and his lovely wife Mary Godwin live with their three daughters, Kathy 22, Mary Joe 17, and Gina 14, at 1808 Kimbrough on Farmington. They also have a son Joe II who is married.  They are communicants of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Because Chief Gagliano “was not ready to gather moss,” he came out of retirement to the Chief of Police position in Germantown, and because he did, all of the Germantown citizens have the benefit of the expertise and experience of a true professional.  Recently the Chief devised a plan called the Neighborhood Watch Program which provides every citizen of Germanton an opportunity to help make the community safer and to keep the crime rate down.

Germantown is indeed fortunate to have one of the most outstanding laws enforcement officers in the nation to lead their Police Department.

As one would expect n this type of career and with so many years of service, Chief Gagliano has had many narrow escapes and enough harrowing experiences to fill volumes or to make movies more exciting than those presently playing at the local theatres.  Of some of these experiences the chief says. “I guess it just wasn’t time for me to go and maybe I’ll be a better man tomorrow.”

“Germantown Is My Beat”, Germantown News/Shelby Sun Times
By Joseph S. Gagliano, Jr., November 22, 1974

A reminder to all citizens; do not forget to obtain your city of Germantown Auto City License Sticker, which becomes due January 1, 1975.   We have allowed those who purchased Memphis Stickers before moving to Germantown this year (1974) to operate your car without interference for the remainder of the year (1974) on the Memphis Sticker.  Because of your residential establishment, however, this year (1975) you will be required to purchase the (1975) sticker in Germantown.

A Germantown City Sticker costs $7.50 a year, a Memphis Sticker costs $17.50 a year.

Tough Memphis Policeman Takes Job as Germantown Chief, The Commerical Appeal, Metropolitan Scene
By Robert Kellett, November 25, 1973

Joseph S. Gagliano is back in a policeman’s uniform.

Things are a bit different from the days when he spent 31 years acquiring a reputation as a tough, colorful Memphis policeman and rose to the rank of chief of detectives, but Joe Gagliano obviously is enjoying his new role as chief of police of Germantown.

“Our biggest problems are traffic and theft from the construction jobs in Germantown,” said Gagliano as he noted the contrast between the years when major crimes in Memphis occupied his hours.

“A small department like this is much easier to control and these guys are proud to be police officers.”

“It kind of reminds me of when I first went on the (Memphis) Police Department.  There are no clock watchers-no problem of morale.”

“There seems to be a lot of love among these men for one another.”

Gagliano has plans for constant retraining of his 10 patrolmen-half of whom have two or more years of a college education.  In one such program which will begin soon, the policemen will spend 20 hours on the Memphis Police firing range learning to use their weapons better, with an emphasis on the “safe method of handling firearms.”

To confront the pilferage problem on the construction site, the chief again has gotten help from Memphis.  At his request, the Memphis Police Department has been sending its helicopter to light up some construction sites and the tactic has brought about 10 arrests in the last couple of weeks.

Town fathers hope the traffic problem can be eased in the future when a major roads program is approved.

The future can be expected to hold more problems for law enforcement in Germantown.  The area is booming in expensive residences and apartments and Gagliano knows it all must be tempting to burglars.

“We’re trying to get the people interested in the neighborhood watch program,” he said, “to watch each other’s homes when someone is away.”  The department is also loaning engraving equipment to residents and urging them to engrave their driver’s license numbers on valuable property.

He thinks it’s working.  “People are calling about suspicious persons and actions.  They’re looking out for one another.”

Germantown probably will be able to contain any burglary or robbery problems, Gagliano thinks, because of a couple of strong points.

Most of the commercial establishments in the town are hooked into the police department by burglar alarms and radio communication is maintained at the Kirby Wood Mall- the big shopping center that is in the process of getting stores open on the western edge of town.

The other strong point is a patrol system that keeps cars moving through the town constantly.

“One of the privileges we have here is patrolling,” said Gagliano.  “About 75 percent of our time is spent patrolling, staying on the streets.”

When Joe Gagliano became chief of police of Germantown in September, there were old friends who expressed concern that the cop who was known for his love of action might not be comfortable with all of the suburban serenity.  So far, he apparently likes the tranquility and wants to keep it that way.

Area Lawmen Mourn Death of Germantown’s Gagliano Memphis Press-Scimitar
January 15, 1979

Area law enforcement officials and government leaders today mourned the death of Germantown Police Chief Joseph S. Gagliano – a 31-year veteran of the Memphis Police Department and its chief of detectives when he retired.

Chief Gagliano, 57, (March 11, 1921 – January 14, 1979) died at 4 p.m. yesterday at St. Joseph Hospital East of a heart attack after complaining of chest pains while at home at 1808 Kimbrough in Germantown.

A rosary service will be at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Memphis Funeral Home Poplar Chapel.  Mass will be said at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Louis Catholic Church with burial in Memorial Park.

Chief Gagliano took over the top post at the Germantown Police Department in September 1973.  He began his law enforcement career as a fingerprint file clerk with the Memphis Police Department and held the rank of the inspector as the department’s chief of detectives when he retired in March of 1972.

Past and present associates had high praise for Gagliano.  “Joseph was the finest Christian gentleman I ever met,” said Henry Lux, who was Memphis Police Chief while Gagliano was Chief of Detectives “he happened to be my best friend – he was like a brother to me.  It is really shocking everyone is going to miss him.”

“It’s going to be a great loss to law enforcement in the county,” said Sheriff Gene Barksdale.  Barksdale said he and Gagliano were lieutenants on the Memphis police force together, and they continued to work “very, very closely” after Gagliano took over the Germantown force.

Germantown Mayor W.A. ‘Dub’ Nance also spoke highly of Gagliano.  “He was not only a great police chief in Germantown but an outstanding person in the community.  I believe he had more compassion for others than anyone I knew. We’re going to miss him- it’s going to be a terrific loss here.”

In an interview with the Press-Scimitar at the time of his retirement, Chief Gagliano said his need for money originally prompted him to join the police force.

After he graduated from Christian Brothers High School in 1940, the only job he could find was as a National Cotton Council clerk-typist at $10 a week. “I heard they were paying $85 a month at the police station, and one of my teachers at CBC helped get me the job,” he said.

“Joe was just about the most honest policeman who ever lived,” said Menno Duerksen, retired Press-Scimitar reported who covered the police beat for 27 years.  “He was a great friend of the press.  Nobody hid any reports when he was around.  He was a heck of a great guy.”

Chief Gagliano, son of a Sicilian immigrant, used to boast that he had been a rough and tough child.  They say, “we Sicilians are all connected with the Mafia,” but that is one who is not.  But it was close.  I was the toughest kid in my neighborhood.  I would fight at the drop of a hat.  When I was a boy, I knew burglars and holdup men.   It was that daddy of mine, with his leather strap, who kept me straight.  If I wasn’t home by eight in the evening, I got it and got it good.”

In World War II, Chief Gagliano served as a bombardier for 30 bombing missions over the European continent in a B-17 named the “Sleepytime Gal”, with the Eighth Air Force.  He once remarked that “the League of Nations should click so well, as his flight crew was made up of a Pole, a Jew, a German, two Englishmen, two Irishmen and one Italian, and the cooperation between them would have put the Geneva bigwigs to shame.”  He was decorated for his service with the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and a presidential citation.

He was a communicant of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and served faithfully at the daily morning mass.  He was a member of the American Legion and was installed in the Christian Brothers High School Hall of Fame.

He leaves three daughters, Mrs. Catherine Marie Lunati and Miss Gina Ann Gagliano, both of Germantown, and Mrs. Mary Jo Wooten of Collierville, a son, Joseph S. Gagliano, III of Collierville, a brother, Ralph M. Gagliano, and a sister, Mrs. Pete J. Faulkner, both of Memphis.

The Germantown Board of Mayor and Alderman bid farewell to the city’s late police chief at the January 22, 1979, board meeting, retiring his badge and adopting a memorial resolution in his honor.  Mrs. Gagliano received a plaque with the resolution, the chief’s badge, and the two stars he wore which designated him as chief.

Chief Robert A. Cochran, 1979-1989

Germantown’s New Chief Reflects on Long Career, Memphis Press-Scimitar
By Ken Garland, March 14, 1979

St. Patrick’s Day is a significant date for Chief Insp. Robert Allen Cochran.

On that day in 1952, he went to work for the Memphis Police Department.  On that day in 1964, his daughter was born; and on that day in 1972, a close friend died.

Because of the day’s special meaning to him, he almost asked to start his new job on that day this year.

Cochran, who will celebrate his anniversary with the Memphis Police Department this Saturday, has been appointed chief of the Germantown Police department.

His present rank is chief inspector and his responsibilities have included direction of all precincts and reserve officers as uniform patrol commander.  He is the only graduate in this area of the famed Northwestern university course for police management and administration.   Cochran was originally nominated for this school by Gagliano.

After the news of his appointment became public yesterday, Cochran was deluged with telephone calls from the public and well-wishers from his colleagues in the department.

“It’s been like this all morning,” Cochran said as he tried to relax between phone rings.  “I didn’t expect everybody to react like this.  People from Germantown have been calling me, plus I’ve been deluged with people trying to sell me a home in Germantown.”

The Germantown city charter requires that the chief of police live inside the city, he said.

Cochran, 48, began as a patrolman on the downtown beat and stayed there until he was promoted to lieutenant on Dec. 15, 1960.  During the five years, he was a uniform commander., he was on loan to the homicide squad to help investigate the murder of Frank Bruno, a police officer killed in the line of duty.  A former partner of Bruno’s for 2 ½ years, Cochran said he asked for the temporary assignment because of his closeness to the dead officer.  All involved in the murder were eventually arrested.

On November 1, 1965, he was transferred to the homicide bureau permanently.   He was promoted to captain on August 1, 1966, and, named assistant commander.  A year and a half later, Cochran was named commander of homicide.

He was promoted to inspector in September 1974 and given command of the south precinct.  In 1977, he was placed in charge of the newly created special operations bureau and was named to his present post.

During his tenure in the homicide squad, the detectives handled some of the most notorious crimes in Memphis history.  It was in this period that civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King was killed.  Cochran and the squad worked tirelessly on the King murder.

“To the best of my knowledge, James Earl Ray killed Martin Luther King,” he said.  “We have no evidence to point to anything else.”

One of the toughest cases, he said, involved George Putt, who was convicted of killing five people during a 29-day period in 1969.  Putt is now in prison.

“That is the biggest thing I guess homicide has ever worked on in Memphis,” he said.  “He was killing at random, and we had never had a random murder work in Memphis.  He was cleaning up the (murder) scene about as good as we were processing the scene.

“I lost 25 pounds in those 29 days.”

Cochran met with some Germantown officers after he was appointed Monday night, he said, and was given a vote of confidence from the officers.  He said he told them he was coming to learn from them and to teach them.

“But they’ve got to teach me before I can share my experience with them,” he said.  “I think, primarily, that I’ll have to prove myself to the men.  As soon as I feel I’m on good grounds with the men, I’ll concentrate on proving myself with the community.”

Cochran will receive an annual salary of $17,052 and will also be able to collect his $14,000 annual pension from the Memphis Police Department.

Cochran and his wife, Bobbi Jean, will have been married 24 years this May 14, he said. They have two children, a son, Terry, 22, and the daughter Cathy Colleen who will be 15 Saturday.

Cochran said he is to meet with Police Director E. Winslow Cochran, who was out of town when the appointment was announced, to plan his retirement date from the department.

Police Chief Retires in Germantown, Gruff mien helped Cochran Whip Department into Shape, The Commerical Appeal
By Clay Bailey, June 16 & 22, 1989

Germantown Police Chief Bob Cochran, 58, retired Thursday, ending a 37-year law enforcement career.

Cochran, in a letter to Mayor Charles Salvaggio, cited his health as the major reason for the retirement.  Cochran had heart by-pass surgery two years ago.  The heart problems put an end to smoking the slender brown cigarettes that had been a Cochran trademark.  “I need to retire,” Cochran said.  I need to get out of here and get well if I can get well.  If I can’t get well, I don’t need to be around here screaming at folks.”

And that’s the way Cochran was – screaming, hard-driving, stubborn, and many times intimidating even during the early phase of his 27-year career on the Memphis Police Department.  His yelling often was splattered with cursing.  He was the kind of guy who, if really ticked off, might stir his coffee with his gun barrel.  Cochran said his management style was “fear”.  “I’m a strict disciplinarian.   I won’t put up with anybody being brutal, discourteous, or dishonest.”

He built the department into what it is today.  He took a force of 15 underpaid officers – the lowest paid in Shelby County – and built it to a force of 43 with an average patrolman salary of $19,000.  When he began, they had an 829 square foot facility on West Street and ended with an 18,000 square foot building attached to the Municipal Center.

But that attitude helped Cochran run a department that was in disarray when he took over in 1979.  Within months after his installation, two officers, including one of the finalists for the chief’s job, were indicted on receiving stolen property from local institutions.  Cochran said it helped instill honesty in the other officers because it showed that the new chief was not going to tolerate similar action.

Part of the success can be measured in statistics.  Germantown is considered the safest area in Shelby County and perhaps the state.  During Cochran’s tenure, crime decreased considerably as Germantown grew from 19,500 in 1979 to be the 10th largest city in the state with about 33, 000 citizens.   He said he accomplished this with “high visibility with a police presence, fast response time and a police force hungry and curious to find out what‘s going on – good police officers.  Response time to a call should be two minutes, instead of 4.5 minutes as it was years ago.”

Salvaggio named Asst. Chief Eddie Boatwright interim chief.  Boatwright is expected to be a candidate to permanently replace the 58-year-old Cockran.

Robert A. Cochran died at Methodist Hospital in October of 1998 of lung cancer.  He was 68.

Cochran is the latest in the string of major departures from the Germantown government this year.  Former mayor Warner Hodges III resigned in the midterm in January; City Administrator Jim Holgersson resigned in May to take a job in Kalamazoo, Mich., and City Clerk Frances Sparkman and Director of Development Ron Schmied retired earlier in the year.

Cochran’s retirement is effective July 1, but he is on vacation and has accumulated enough time that he will not return to work before then.

Cochran came to Germantown in 1979, two months after the death of former police chief Joe Gagliano.  Cochran retired from the Memphis police force immediately before taking the Germantown post.

Cochran is the first officer to retire from the Germanton force, and he was chief longer than any other.  “So, I guess I made history,” he said.  The city will keep him on through the next year on a consulting basis, and he hopes to be able to do investigative consultation for businesses.

Cochran worked for the Memphis police force for 26 years.  Among the cases he oversaw was the arrest of George Howard Putt in connection with the slaying of five people in 1969, Cochran was chief inspector of the Memphis uniform patrol division when he left to take the Germantown post.

Germantown is Safest City in State, Germantown News
October 30, 1997

From 1952 through 1967, the Germantown city ordinances pertaining to matters of the Germantown Police Department were contained within one black leatherbound volume of approximately 50 pages.  Some of them included (1957) not letting a train block a crossing for more than five minutes and (1963) addressing the unlawful activity of engaging in group shouting or group singing on any public sidewalk unless approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

In the early decades, the city was concentrated on the south side of Poplar in what is the “Old Germantown” district today.  If someone committed a traffic violation, then they may have been literally “flagged down” by an officer with a flag.

As late as 1978, there were still gravel roads in the city and horses had the right of way.  Buying groceries or eating in a restaurant required leaving Germantown (pop.8,000) for the “big city,” Memphis.

In the 70s two police officers patrolled the streets at night and three men were assigned to the daytime shift.  Police districts were simple; there were two, one on each side of the railroad tracks.

By 1989, four police districts had emerged with four officers per shift and currently, seven police districts are identified with seven to nine officers with at least one assigned to the new commercial district near Wal-Mart and the nearby hotels.

“This community had always demanded low crime.  Residents have told the police department they want to be safe and have given us the authority to do what it takes to achieve that,” said Harold Hays, the department’s new Inspector in charge of staff service, which includes such areas as community relations and training.

Earlier, policing was done more outside in a car, answering calls and waiting for traffic violations.

“Most of an officer’s time was spent waiting for something to happen,” said Mike Hogan, community relations officer.  “We now have training mandates, more laws and ordinances have been enacted, and the paperwork requirements are much different.  Our goal is to be more proactive.”

The GPD averages 2.3 officers per 1,000 residents with 75 officers currently on the force.  Officers are more visible now at community events like Race for the Cure, Germantown Festival, The Charity Horse Show, and activities with other Civic and community groups.

“Germantown is the safest city in the State.  Our response time is usually within three minutes or less unlike Memphis where the response time is based on the severity of the crime,” says Hays.

Hogan added, “This City’s biggest problems are traffic-related particularly because of the deaths of several young people.  This is an area we need to concentrate on and be as proactive as we can.

The last murder in Germanton was in 1992 and involved a neighbor killing another neighbor.  Murders in 1986 and 199- implicated family members.

Chief Eddie Boatwright, 1989-1997

Police Chief Restructures Staff, Germantown News
July 13, 1989

It didn’t take long for Germantown’s new Police Chief Eddie Boatwright to take command and initiate changes in the department.

Boatwright restructured his command staff last week, naming Brian Roper Deputy Chief of Police.  Roper has come up through the ranks and was one of the first dispatchers for the police department.  His most recent position was a sergeant in the uniform patrol.

Boatwright promoted Alan Montgomery to Uniform Patrol Commander.  Mike Hill was elevated to Investigative Services Commander.  Hill is also the police representative to the Mayor’s Alliance against Drugs.  Paul Hamblen, assistant chief of police along with Boatwright under former police chief Robert Cochran, who retired July 1 because of ill health, was named Administrative/Technical Service Commander.

Chief Boatright also plans to promote three patrolmen to the rank of sergeant with then the next six to eight weeks, based on a testing procedure.

Germantown enjoys the lowest crime rate in the state of Tennessee. We will continue the emphasis on safe neighborhoods, streets and shopping areas,” stated Boatwright, adding that traffic and resulting accidents are the biggest problems in the city.  “We intend to continue strict traffic enforcement as we have for many years,” he said.

“Things will continue as they have in the past.   I feel we have the finest group of officers in this area, and we intend to maintain those standards which former chief Cochran initiated,” he said.

 The “working chief” as he characterizes himself, puts in an average of 60 hours a week and is in charge of 43 officers.  He is married and has one son, Bobby,11.  His wife Leslie is a Deputy U.S. Marshal and was the city’s first female officer.  Boatwright relieves the pressures of the job by fishing, playing ball, and shooting.

This job for 15 years has been a very large part of my life,” he admits.  “I set my sights on the chief’s job 15 years ago when I began as a reserve officer.”

As well as overseeing Germantown’s police force, Boatwright works with all the law enforcement agencies of Shelby County as well as federal agencies.  He attends meets five times a year in Nashville with the police association and meets once a month with Memphis metropolitan police chiefs.  When then vice-president George bush visited Germantown three years ago, Boatwright was one of the officers who provided security.

He said the most difficult case he worked on was the under of a Memphis police reserve officer many years ago.  “Several of us worked round the clock for 18 days to solve the case,” he remembers.

A native of Memphis, Boatwright, 42, graduated from Messick High School and majored in journalism at Memphis State, where he was present of Sigma Delta Chi, the journalism society.  He received an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice in 1982 from Shelby State Community College and was a Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve at the time of his discharge in 1970.

From 1974-76 he served as a reserve officer for the Germantown Police Department.  His background included time as a patrol officer, detective, detective staff sergeant, and lieutenant in charge of operations in 1983-85.

Boatwright was promoted to assistant chief of operations in 1985, making him second in command of the Germantown Police, until being named Chief of Police earlier this month.

His extensive law enforcement training includes FBI Anti-Sniper and Survival School, FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, National Rifle Assn. Firearms Instructor School, Police Middle Management School, U.S. Secret Service Dignitary Protection Seminar in Washington, D.C., and FBI Forearms Instructor School in 1989.

Boatwright was named police officer of the year in 1982 by both the Germanton Knights of Columbus and the Shelby County Optimist Club Respect for law Committee.  He was elected president of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police and sworn on June 16, 1995.

Boatwright ‘left world better place’, Commerical Appeal
By Clay Bailey, November 26, 2007

Former Germantown Police Eddie Boatwright sat on his porch with friends a couple of months ago peacefully watching the Middle Tennessee sunset.

He was laughing, still pulling practical jokes, and having a pretty good time for a 60-year-old man who had been told he had pancreatic cancer and was dying.

“I’m not going to change just because I’m dying,’ the former chief said laughing.

On Saturday afternoon, Mr. Boatwright, who later went on to serve a short stint as police chief in Clifton, Tenn. And eventually became deputy director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, lost the battle with cancer he learned about in April.  He died at his home in Wayne County north of Collinwood.

Services are scheduled for Thursday at 1 p.m. at Germantown Baptist Church.  “The man was fearless.  He feared no one in life, be they criminals or politicians,” said Brian Roper, who served 7 ½ years as Mr. Boatwright’s deputy chief and was a close friend.  “He was a true hero.  He was totally honest and truthful.  He never feared death, either.  He faced it like the true man that he was.”

Mr. Boatwright retired in 1997 after eight years as Germantown’s police chief.  He was a reserve in 1974 and became a dispatcher in 1975 before joining the department as a full-time officer a year later.  He moved up to assistant chief under Bob Cochran and was named chief on June 2,6, 1989, after Cochran retired.

During his tenure, the suburb was known for its low crime rate and adding special patrols, such as directed traffic enforcement and a dog squad, and organizing efforts following the 1994 tornado.  He increased staffing in the department and advanced computer operations.

Mike Hill, a program manager with the University of Tennessee Law Enforcement Innovation Center, said he learned from Mrs. Boatwright’s actions when Hill was a Germantown police officer and detective.  Hill said the former chief knew constitutional and criminal law, and he combined street smarts with an Andy Griffith-type approach to dealing with people.  Mr. Boatwright’s demeanor helped him when dealing with the public, a victim, or a suspect.

 “He took me under his wing,” Hill said Sunday. “I learned a lot from Eddie on how to treat people.  You treat them with the same kind of respect, and you’ll get what you need.”

Mr. Boatwright twice served as president of the state Association of Chiefs of Police and was a past president of the Metropolitan Association of Chiefs of Police.  After leaving Germantown, Mr. Boatwright moved to a 300-acre spread in Wayne County that he and his wife, Nancy, called Rocky Hollow Ranch.

”I thought when I left police work, I was done,” Mr. Boatwright said.  “I would retire to the farm, ride the tractor and ride the horses.  It just didn’t work out.”

He joined the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency a month after September 11, 2001, attacks and eventually became deputy director.

Mr. Boatwright had resolved himself to the future after the cancer diagnosis, bypassing radiation and chemotherapy that might have extended his life for what he considered a better quality of life in his remaining days.

“I’m going out on my terms and it’s not over in the corner throwing up,” Mr. Boatwright said this spring.  “I’m a dead man walking.”

Mrs. Boatwright seemed to take the news in stride almost from the time he heard there was little hope of overcoming pancreatic cancer.

He spent his last months, learning woodworking, shooting his guns on the farm, and entertaining visitors.  A friend built a model railroad layout for him to watch in his final months.

“So many friends and colleagues have come by to honor Eddie for what he’s done through his career in law enforcement, and emergency management,” his wife, Nancy said recently.

She added: “They all recognize that he’s made contributions to those professions and that he’s left the world a better place.”

In addition to his wife, and son, Robert E. Boatwright of Memphis, Mr. Boatwright heaves his parents Edwin and Helen Boatwright of Memphis and two sisters, Joyce Fay of Woodstock, Ill, and Ruth Caldwell of Tucson, Ariz.

Remembering a friend and colleague…, Commerical Appeal
By Tom Bailey Jr., November 30, 2007

The service Eddie Boatwright arranged for himself proved to be a funeral spectacular on Thursday.  Helicopters flew.  A horse walked.  Rifles fired.  Bagpipes and a bugle blew sweetly.  A violin and piano played beautifully.

The ritual had firetrucks, a Tennessee Highway Patrol honor guard, a flag-draped coffin, scores of uniformed mourners, and a motorcycle escort.

But most of all, the service offered wonderful stories about Boatwright, Germantown’s colorful former police chief (1989-1997), and former deputy director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.

He died Saturday of pancreatic cancer at age 60.  Former colleague police Capt. Dick Clinton, TEMA planning director Mac Purdy and former mayor Charles Salvaggio told lots of anecdotes about their friend.

Like the times, Boatwright, who thought big, tried and failed to get approval to start a horse patrol, boat patrol (on the Wolf River) and a helicopter operation for the Germantown department.

“He couldn’t get that one past the mayor, either” Clinton said, bringing laughter to hundreds of mourners at Germantown Baptist Church.

Boatwright got no boat but oversaw a boatload of improvements to the Police Department.

He stabilized the force by working to increase salaries and retirement benefits for officers.  He also made the department more self-sufficient, boosted specialized training with a SWAT team, K-9, and dog units, standardized the officers’ weapons by having the city buy them, and started Neighborhood Watch, Clinton said.

Boatwright loved guns and helicopters, Purdy said.

He recalled seeing Boatwright wearing an FBI hat and overalls during a weapons-qualification exercise.  “That was him in his element,” Purdy said.

He glowed when he talked about his gun collection.

Salvaggio said he once asked Boatwright how he dealt so well with people after seeing firsthand all the horrible things people do to each other.  He said, “Charles, there’s good people and bad people.  I know I have to rise about those things and deal with the people still here.”

Boatwright’s funeral rose above the ordinary.  His arrangements included the 50-line soliloquy of Shakespeare’s ‘Henry V,” performed expertly – and from memory – by Purdy.

After an hour, the service moved to the church’s front yard.  Dozens of police stood together in their dress uniforms.  Scores of TEMA personnel who came from across the state wore their tactical tan pants and black shirts.  Seven white-gloved members of the Germantown SWAT team fired a 21-round salute.  Col. Mike Walker of the Tennessee Highway Patrol played “Taps.”  The droning from the west signaled the fast approach of three Highway Patrol helicopters.  Over the church, one copter broke formation, veering south for a missing-man fly-by.  Led by a mounted Tennessee State Parks ranger, the hearse slowly rolled away before picking up an escort of Highway Patrol motorcycles.

Chief Jim Fortune, 1997-1999

New Police Chief Plans for the Future, The Germantown News
By Marjorie Riepe, October 30, 1997

Six years ago, at the age of 47, retirement at Pickwick Lake seemed the ideal situation to Jim Fortune, a professed golf lover. However, after nine months, he was supervising a crew clearing land on the north side of the lake and beginning to realize he missed police work.

At that time, he answered a newspaper ad for a dispatcher in the Germantown Police Department.

Instead, Fortune became a GPD patrolman on the midnight shift, a position he had not held for eight years since the last years of his 26-year tenure with the Memphis Police Department were in the office.

After two years as a patrolman, the next step was to take the test to become a lieutenant and then promotion to the captain of the uniform patrol, which led eventually to the inspector in 1996, deputy chief in January 1997, and to his position as Germantown’s top law enforcement officer today.

“I was surprised when Eddie Boatwright announced his retirement. However, I was not concerned when Alan Montgomery was recommended. I would have been proud to serve under him. My family encouraged me to take advantage of this opportunity and I’m honored to assume the chief position,” Fortune said.

A quiet unassuming man, the new police chief believes in his staff and often stresses how much he will depend on them for decisions.

“I will use my staff to guide me in making the right decisions. We are going to make the number one police department even better,” Fortune said.

He chose Richard Hall as his new deputy chief and then divided the command at the inspector level. The department previously functioned with two deputy chiefs. “That close to the top, there should not be two individuals of equal rank,” Fortune remarked.

Tom Lott is the new inspector in charge of uniform patrol and investigations, and Inspector Harold Hays will oversee staff services including community relations and training. Former Deputy Chief Brian Roper is now a captain in charge of investigations.

With an expensive training background, Fortune is most proud of completing the 11-week F.B.I. course during its 188th session at the national academy in Quantico, Va.

“I never expected to be able to run the 10-mile yellow brick road course (during the training).  Almost 3 miles were obstacles like climbing over walls, etc. It was an honor to be in a selected group over 50 years old,” he said with a smile.

Fortune’s plans are to increase the already high GPD visibility level.  “I want to add more bike patrol officers, more school resource officers, more officers with our crime/traffic special unit, and more officers for our new drug education project.  The more visible we are, the easier it is to maintain our low crime rate.  Traffic is still our number one problem, but I don’t think it’s any worse than in any other area of the country.  We just happen to have two very large high schools plus the intersections of two major thoroughfares, he added.

In his capacity as deputy chief, Fortune coordinated many Germantown special events such as the Germantown Charity Horse Show, Race for the Cure, the Germantown Festival, and several 5K reads, plus two outdoor concerts.

“I believe in having excellent community relations.  To treat people as you would like to be treated. I want to continue to work together with the board and with citizens.  I am here to do anything that needs to be done,” he said.

The department will undergo some physical changes perhaps in four phases during the next few years. One major change will be to unlock the front doors.

“We are going to open the doors again and allow public access to our offices. I will be moving my office upfront, and we will have an officer at the front desk.  I think the doors were locked because of the ladies (upfront). Citizens will be able to walk in without having to speak through a little window first.”

Fortune lives in Bartlett with his wife Pat of 32 years.  H has one daughter, Leigh, and now has a grandson, Hunter, who is 6 months old.

Mayor Ousts Police Chief, The Germantown News
By Marge Riepe, December 16,1999

Monday night Germantown Mayor Sharon Goldsworthy official requested the removal of Police Chief Jim Fortune, ending his 26-month tenure with the city.  Aldermen confirmed the mayor’s action by a 4-0 vote.  Alderman Gary Pruitt was absent.

Since heart bypass surgery in June, Fortune has been away from his position for six months.  In the executive session before the regular board meeting, Goldsworthy said, he (Fortune) has not shown us that is capable of holding the position.  He has made no explanation of when he would resume his duties or made no effort to resume.

According to the city charter, the mayor can dismiss the police chief who serves at the direction of the mayor.

Deputy Police Chie Richard Hall, who has been handling the day-to-day operations of the police department since Fortune left, was named acting chief and will serve in that capacity until a replacement is found.  Goldsworthy said a national search, as well as an internal one, would be conducted immediately.

Goldsworthy characterized Fortune as a valued employee, however, in the best interests of the city and its residents, she said she had no other alternative except dismissal.  “Germantown is and will remain one of the safest cities,” she said.

Chief Marie Alexander, 1997-1999

First Female Chief Hits Streets June 26, The Germantown News

Maria Alexander, 41, was unanimously confirmed Monday night by the city’s aldermen to become Germantown’s first female chief.

Mayor Goldsworthy’s first choice for chief, Alexander, and her husband will begin house hunting in the area next week.  Alexander will devote one week this summer to the arrival of a new grandchild in Oklahoma.

Alexander was selected from seven finalists for the position after a nationwide search produced almost 100 applicants.  Three of the contenders to lead the police department came from within its own ranks, including the acting police chief, Richard Hall.

According to the city’s charter, the mayor makes a recommendation to the aldermen, who must confirm the choice.

Alexander’s police experience includes six years as police chief in Owasso, Okla., a suburb of Tulsa.  Last year, she left that position to become assistant director of the National Center for Women and Policing in Los Angeles.  Earlier this year, she resigned for philosophical differences and is currently working for the Army Reserves.

In the executive session before the regular meeting, Goldsworthy praised the selection process and thanked the aldermen for their support.

“There was input from different places, in-depth checks, review by teams, and help from people in the community (with the process).” Said Goldsworthy.  “I believe Maria fits the police profile that the board discussed at its retreat in January.  She brings leadership skills, expertise, and experience to the position.  Her track record with Community Oriented Policing meets and exceeds our expectations.”

Goldsworthy also commented on the consistency of the candidate analysis.  “When we debriefed, we discovered people found the same things about each candidate,” she said.

While all five aldermen applauded Alexander’s qualifications, Alderman Frank Uhlhorn expressed more than once his disappointment that a candidate could not be selected from within the police department.  “I was hoping it would be filled from within. I was just wishing it could have been different.”

Alderman John Drinnon said he received at least three phone calls from citizens stating their concerns about the new chief being a woman.  He said one caller told him:  “I understand you are trying to hire a police chief like Mayberry, but what you done is hire Aunt Bee instead.”

John Niven said he received two phone calls that were “gender-based”.  “I believe Alexander will be tough enough mentally and physically for the job,” he said.

Drinnon asked Goldsworthy to name Alexander’s specific skills.  “She has notable communication skills and is known for leading by example,” said Goldsworthy.  “She is fair and equitable and has strong organizational skills demonstrated in a variety of positions.  She is innovative and makes a thoughtful analysis when she deals with problems.  She was clearly the strongest person to interact with the current management team.  Today’s police chief leads and manages.  It’s not about toting a gun.”

Alderman Gary Pruitt made the motion to appoint Alexander as police chief.  “I believe she fits the profile of education, experience, personality, skills, and abilities that we determined were necessary during our retreat.  I also want to praise the thoroughness of the selection process,” he said.

After Alexander’s confirmation, Goldsworthy congratulated the police department on its professionalism during the selection and interview process.  “The department never wavered or faltered in its professionalism.  You gave exceptional policing.  I think this will be the leadership you deserve.”

Alexander was sworn in by Tom Cates on Monday, June 26th at the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting.

Chief Richard Hall, 2002-

Hall is Named as new Police Chief, Germantown News
By Maxine Hunter

Shelby County native Richard Hall, who assumed leadership of the Germanton Police Department on Tuesday, January 15, will not be changing offices.

By quirks of fate, the office he occupies now has been his through the years in various positions of leadership, and he sees no reason to change now.

 This used to be the office of the head of the Investigative Division, and I was captain over that, and when it made it back to the Administrative division it was the assistant chief office, and I had it there again, so my intention is to stay here with it,” he said.

Hall, 39, grew up in the Whitehaven area, the son of Mary Hall and the late Lamar Hall.   After graduating from Bishop Byrne High School, he worked as a National Park Ranger in Atlanta and again as a State Park Ranger in Arkansas.

Feeling a need to come back home, he received his B.S. in Science and Education at the University of Memphis.

In October 1985, he came to Germantown as a police recruit.  He attended the Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy in Donaldson, TN, an eight-week class.  At that time the Germantown Police Force had an approved strength of 36 to 37 officers.  Today it has 80.  With workers in communication and records, full-time employees number right at 100.

Hall worked his way up in the force, serving as a patrol officer, detective, patrol sergeant, patrol lieutenant, lieutenant over the investigative division, captain over the investigative division, deputy chief, and assistant chief since October 1997.

The advantage of his long service with the department is that “he does not have to spend a period of time learning the officers in his department,” he said.

“If we’re looking at potential, an officer is interviewing every day in how he treats the public and maintains high performance,” he said.  “The values that I put forward are that everyone be treated equally, fairly, and consistently.  I see my job as being champion for employees’ causes and for the department’s causes, with everyone valuing everyone else.”

He and his wife Jackie, to whom he has been married for over 15 years, have a daughter Ashley, 11, and a son, Justin 5.

June 23, 2021 Update:

Chief Richard Hall was hired as a patrol officer for the city of Germantown in October of 1985.  He has served the citizens of Germantown as a Patrol Officer, Detective, Patrol Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain commanding the Investigative Division, Captain commanding the SWAT Team, Assistant Chief, Deputy Chief, and ultimately became Chief of Police in January of 2002.  Chief Hall is a graduate of the University of Memphis, the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development seminar, the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command, and the FBI National Academy session 176.  He has served as President of the Memphis Metropolitan Association of Chiefs of Police and on the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police Board of Directors.  In 2019 Chief Hall was elected President of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police and continues to serve in that capacity.

Germantown Police Chief Richard Hall is elected President of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, Tennessee Government Facebook Site
July 29, 2019

Germantown Police Chief Richard Hall is elected President of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police (July 29, 2019).  The mission of the TACP is to provide law enforcement agencies the opportunity to fulfill professional training, ethical leadership, management development, and legislative representation; while promoting cooperation, communication, and the exchange of information to better serve the members of the TACP. Chief Hall (left) is pictured with outgoing President Chief Randy Evans of the Cookeville Police Department.

Jim Allen. 1963-1965

Jim Allen. 1963-1965

Chief Bob Massey, 1965-1969

Chief Bob Massey, 1965-1969

Police Chief Bobby Massey in Front of Police Station on First Street (now) Parks & Recreation Department

Police Chief Bobby Massey in Front of the Police Station on First Street, (now) Parks & Recreation Department

Chief Sterling Maddox 1969-1973

Chief Sterling Maddox, 1969-1973

Joseph S. Gagliano 1973-1979

Joseph S. Gagliano, 1973-1979

Chief Gagliano & Sgt. Jimbo Allen (son of former Chief Jim Allen) City Hall on West Street

Chief Gagliano & Sgt. Jimbo Allen (son of former Chief Jim Allen), City Hall on West Street

Jail Cells at Police Station at City Hall on West Street

Jail Cells at Police Station at City Hall on West Street

New Germantown police officers hired last month were introduced at a recent meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.   Back row, from left, Mayor W.A. “Dub” Nance, Jay Johnson, Brian Roper, Bruce Fergusson, Police Chief Joseph Gagliano  Front row, Robert Davis, Eddie Boatright and Robert Armbruster

New Germantown police officers hired last month were introduced at a recent meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. 
Back row, from left, Mayor W.A. “Dub” Nance, Jay Johnson, Brian Roper, Bruce Fergusson, Police Chief Joseph Gagliano
Front row, Robert Davis, Eddie Boatright, and Robert Armbruster

Chief Joseph Gagliano

Chief Joseph Gagliano

Police Chief Robert A. Cochran

Police Chief Robert A. Cochran

Police Chief Restructures Staff

Police Chief Restructures Staff

Police Chief Jim Fortune

Police Chief Jim Fortune

Chief Richard Hall

Chief Richard Hall

Police Chief Richard Hall

Police Chief Richard Hall