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

Chief Jackie Clayton has seen many changes during his time as a law officer

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

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

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 of 1979.  He had applied a year earlier.

“The city of Tupelo has been very good to me and my family, we started out I was making $14,000  a year, but it was enough,” Clayton said.

Through the years, Clayton worked his way through the ranks, holding positions such as a motorcycle officer in the traffic division,  patrol shift lieutenant, shift captain, major of operations, and deputy chief.  He was appointed interim chief in July by Mayor Todd Jordan when longtime chief Bart Aguirre retired.

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

“It’s still getting out with the people, trying to solve crimes and patrolling and being the servant of people, so to speak, we learn how to protect and supposed to serve, that’s all taught in the academy,” he said.

The chief is known for leading from the front, he often joins cadets at Tupelo’s police academy on their early morning runs, and keeps up with the officers on the streets.

Clayton says he will miss the camaraderie and close bonds he has developed with those on the thin blue line over the years.

“I’ve actually been here, through my life, longer than I’ve been with my family, in hours of time.  And I will miss that. Having a place to go to know you’re making a difference. As a police officer, I truly believe we are making a difference and I truly believe we are supported in this area, very much and that has not faltered over the years,” Chief Clayton said.

Chief Clayton’s last day on the job will be New Year’s Eve.

Chief Clayton will receive a proclamation honoring his work during this evening’s Tupelo City Council meeting.  Also, a reception is planned for Chief Clayton Monday, December 27th, at 2 pm at the Tupelo Police Department’s Community Room.



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