McMinnville Police Department has said farewell to one of its own. Barry Powers has retired after 40 years in law enforcement.
“I enjoyed working with each and every one of y’all,” said Powers. “I hate to leave but I’m getting too old for this and I’ve got to go.”
McMinnville Police Chief Bryan Denton says he met Powers when he started working at Warren County Sheriff’s Department in 1981.
“Barry was the day shift captain and he ran the show,” said Denton. “I was on third shift and I would hang around day shift sometimes. I couldn’t believe the things Barry took care of at the time. Looking back at some of the bad calls I made, and on some of the decisions I made, Barry was the one who would take me to the side and say ‘You might think about doing this instead of that.’ I always appreciated that.”
The four decades Powers served in law enforcement could have set a record.
“The best we can figure, we could be wrong but we think we are about 99 percent right, Barry is the longest serving, full time, continuous serving, law enforcement officer in the history of Warren County,” said Denton. “Barry has 40 years of continuous law enforcement service. That deserves applause.”
Powers started his career with the Tennessee Department of Revenue Motor Vehicle Enforcement in 1976. In 1978, he was hired by the Warren County Sheriff’s Department. He has been with McMinnville Police Department since 1990.
In return for his many years of dedicated service, Powers was presented with a retirement luncheon, a plaque, his badge and service weapon, a Yeti cooler for his relaxing days ahead, and a little good-natured ribbing.
“There’s a fella that reminded me of something that he wanted me to present you,” said Denton. “He said when you came to work for the Sheriff’s Department, you didn’t have a badge and he let you have his badge to wear. He said he never got that badge back so I have a warrant for theft.”
Everyone laughed, including Powers, who stated, “I turned it in. That’s all I’ve got to say. I turned it in.”
Officers with at least 25 years in the department are allowed to take their badge and service weapon with them when they retire. McMinnville police detective Stuart Whitman presented Powers with his service weapon, past and present.
“As range master of McMinnville Police Department, it was my absolute pleasure to boss Barry Powers around on the gun range,” said Whitman. “It’s customary that he be issued his service weapon, which is a Glock 23. But we decided to dig through the records and get him a replica of the gun he was first issued when he started in law enforcement.”
Whitman handed Powers a less-than-antique-looking pistol. The mock presentation brought another round of laughter, followed by the Glock 23.
“When someone retires, you always make a joke about them giving you a watch,” said Denton. “What’s time to you anymore when you’re retired? I thought about that but we couldn’t afford to give you a watch, Barry. Speaking of useless gifts, I got you this.”
He handed Powers a rather large plastic comb with “Big Daddy” written on it. To the fact Powers is bald, but has a mustache, Denton added, “You can comb your mustache with it.”
In attendance at the luncheon was Mayor Jimmy Haley.
“You know I appreciate each and every one of you and the service you give to our city,” said Haley. “When you think about it when you look around the room, there is hundreds of years of service that has been given to the folks in our community by the folks in this room. We can’t say enough for the people who make our community a safer place.”
Complaints about the department are few and far between. Haley says the complaints he does hear are from people who didn’t want a ticket.
“I will tell you, I get very few complaints about our police department. I hear about lots of stuff and very seldom is it about the police department. It’s usually about a ticket, and I say if you were speeding and got a ticket, pay it and go on. It’s not a glamorous job and lives are oftentimes at stake with each and every call. In the crazy world we live in now, you just never know.”
Haley offered his appreciation to Denton and the entire department for the excellent job they do.
“Every time I hear a siren, I always do what my preacher says. I say a little silent prayer, not only for the folks that maybe in trouble, but for the police, fire department or response team that answers those calls. If there is anything the city can do to make it easier on you, we always try to. It’s always good to be the mayor a city where everyone works together and everyone partners to make the quality of life what it is. We appreciate each and every one of you and the job that you do. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
The retirement luncheon was held at McMinnville Police Department on Friday.