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J. T. Alley, Jr. (June 26, 1923—April 27, 2009), was the police chief in Lubbockmarker, from November 14, 1957, until his retirement on January 31, 1983, the third longest such tenure in the state of Texasmarker. Known for his "stern fairness", Alley directed police operations after devastating tornado struck his city on May 11, 1970.

Early years

Alley was born in Lubbock to Jonah Thomas Alley, Sr. (1886-1976), and Edna Ann Mullins Warren Alley (1896-1979), and was reared in the Overton neighborhood there. A mischievous teenager, Alley left Lubbock High Schoolmarker in 1942 to join the United States Marine Corps, where his work as an MP encouraged his later interest in law enforcement. The Lubbock police force happened to be hiring officers when Alley was honorably discharged from the Marines in 1946. In time, he traded the regular police uniform for a suit with stringed tie and his cowboy boots.

Alley worked his way through the ranks in the police department, having begun as a 23-year-old patrolman on September 4, 1946. When he joined the force, Lubbock officers still walked their beats, had just two squad cars, and relied on call boxes in an era before the availability of two-way radios. Alley was promoted to sergeant in 1947, elevated to captain in 1951, and named deputy chief in early 1953.

Police chief

A police innovator, Chief Alley launched the first (1) Juvenile Division, (2) K-9 Corps, (3) Rape Crisis Center,(4) Special Weapons and Tactics teams in Lubbock, (5) and Crime Line. He was the last living founder of the Texas Police Chiefs' Association, which was organized in 1958. His role in the founding of the Texas Police Chiefs' Association was recognized by the Texas State Legislature before the House and Senate in Austin on February 13, 2007 and the association in 2008. On September 10, 2007, the City of Lubbock and Lubbock Police Department renamed the Lubbock Police Academy to the Lubbock Police Academy J. T. Alley Training Center. Chief Alley was very honored and humbled by the dedication and always said that he loved his career and loved working with and respected all the officers. At the dedication of the Training Center, Chief Alley, speaking of his career, said "It's been quite a ride".

During the 1960s, Alley presided over the racial integration of the police department and assigned and promoted officers regardless of their racial backgrounds. Near the end of his tenure, Alley was accused of having made a racial slur, a charge which aroused the ire of the African American and Hispanic communities in Lubbock. He told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that the media had misinterpreted his remarks after he disciplined an officer regarding an improper warrant. "I was trying to impress upon [the corporal] that he should treat everyone alike, regardless of what color they were, and I think that was taken and blown out of proportion. If anyone will take the whole statement, they'll see what I was trying to do", Alley said in 1983.

Although he did not attend college, Alley encouraged his officers to do so. He and his family were proud of his graduations from the FBI National Academy in Quanticomarker, Virginiamarker in 1953, and the Northwestern Universitymarker Traffic Institute in Evanstonmarker, Illinoismarker.

Alley was a staunch opponent of police union. In 1965, he deterred union representatives from an attempt to organize the department with a threat of jail and police dogs.

By 1981, younger officers complained that Alley had stymied further organized unionization. The chief retired two years later at the age of 59 1/2 after proudly serving 25 1/2 years as Chief and 36 1/2 years on the Lubbock Police Department.

Mayor Tom Martin, then the Lubbock municipal public information officer, recalls having waited with Alley in 1970 at the Emergency Operations Center as the F5 tornado struck the police station itself. Martin said that Alley, concerned for his officers, braved still fierce winds and large flying debris, as he ran from the basement toward the building. Because the tornado flattened the police radio, Alley made a commercial radio broadcast that police would shoot looters. Not a single instance of looting was thereafter reported.

Family and death

On January 8, 1944, Alley wed his sweetheart, the former Dorris D'Arlene Reed (June 10, 1926—November 5, 1996), formerly of Washington Statemarker in Bremerton, Washington, and the couple had five daughters. After their divorce in 1976, Alley married Wanda Bullock. Alley was an avid bowler, still bowling on 2 leagues a week and having bowled his last games two nights before his brief illness and died two months before what would have been his 86th birthday.

Surrounded by his family, he died in Lubbock. In addition to his second wife, Alley was survived by four daughters, all of Lubbock: Mary Ann Louise Wilkinson and her husband, David Andy Wilkinson (both born 1948), Patricia Kay Alley (born 1951), Billie D'Arlene Alley McMinn (born 1956 and the widow of Bobby Jim McMinn [dob 12/14/1946 and died 5/8/1995]), and Jaye Tori Harrison and her husband, Brian L. Harrison (both born 1959), eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Ann Marie Alley on May 2, 1946, three sisters, and two brothers. Services were held on May 1, 2009, at 1:00 p.m., at St. Luke's United Methodist Church at the intersection of Memphis Avenue and 45th Street and were officiated by Rev. Matt Wolfington and Dr. Will Cotton. Lubbock Mayor Tom Martin, a former LPD officer who Alley hired and retired Grapevine PD chief also spoke. Lubbock County Sheriff David Gutierrez sang 'Amazing Grace' and 'The Lord's Prayer'. Interment was at Resthaven Memorial Park. Pallbearers were members of the Lubbock Police Department.

Alley's obituary calls him "as true a citizen of Lubbock as ever there was." Retired Asst. Police Chief Tom Mann added, "You always hate to see a legend pass away."


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