Tupelo Police Chief to retire after more than four decades of service

Chief Jackie Clayton has undergone many changes during his time as an employee

TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – A well-known law enforcement official will retire at the end of this year.

“I wasn’t the type of person who wanted to be a cop or anything when I was a kid,” Tupelo Police Chief Jackie Clayton said.

It wasn’t until Jackie Clayton went to Northeast Mississippi Community College and took law enforcement courses as an elective that he began considering a career as a police officer.

Clayton graduated from the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and was hired as a patrol officer at the Tupelo Police Department in August 1979. He applied a year earlier.

“The city of Tupelo was very kind to me and my family, we started earning $ 14,000 a year, but it was enough,” Clayton said.

Over the years, Clayton has worked his way through the ranks, holding positions as a motorcyclist in the traffic department, lieutenant on patrol shift, captain on shift, major in operations and deputy chief. He was appointed interim chief in July by Mayor Todd Jordan when longtime boss Bart Aguirre retires.

Chief Clayton has seen an awful lot of change in 42 years. Tupelo has grown, technology has improved, but the boss says one thing that remains the same is basic police work.

“He still goes out with people, trying to solve crimes and patrol and be people’s servants, so to speak, we learn how to defend and we have to serve, all this is taught in the academy,” he said.

The chief is known for leading the front, he often joins the cadets at the Tupelo Police Academy in their early morning runs and keeps up with the officers on the streets.

Clayton says he will miss the camaraderie and close ties he has built with those of the thin blue line over the years.

“In fact, I’ve been here in my life, longer than I’ve been with my family, for hours. And I will miss that. You have a place to go to know you are making a difference. As a police officer, I really believe that we make a difference and I really believe that we are supported in this area, a lot and that has not changed over the years, “said Chief Clayton.

Chief Clayton’s last working day will be the New Year.

Chief Clayton will receive a proclamation in honor of his work during a meeting of Tupelo City Council tonight. In addition, a reception is scheduled for Chief Clayton on Monday, December 27, at 2 pm in the public room of the Tupelo Police Department.