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Longtime Tenn. state trooper Moore retires after 29 years

Saturday, July 20, 2013

After 29 years of service, Robert Moore retired from the Tennessee Highway Patrol on June 28. He was the trooper supervising sergeant over Dyer County, Tenn. He worked under five governors and eight THP district captains during his service to the citizens of Tennessee.
On Friday, June 28, Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Robert Moore called it a career after 29 years with the Tennessee Dept. of Public Safety.

Having worked for five governors and eight THP captains, Moore retired as the THP's Troop D sergeant for Dyer County. In his role as sergeant, Moore supervised the troopers in the county, and also continued to work wrecks and write tickets.

At a young age, Moore knew what he wanted to do with his life and dreamt of becoming a highway patrolman.

"For as long as a I could remember, I wanted to be a Tennessee State Trooper," said Moore.

Moore graduated from Dyersburg High School in 1975, and the following year he married the love of his life, Patricia Jones. He began working in the private sector until he became a corrections officer at the Fort Pillow Prison and Farm in Lauderdale County. In July of 1984, Moore's dream of becoming a trooper was realized when he was admitted into the Tennessee State Trooper Academy in Donaldson, Tenn.

In September of that year, Moore was given his first assignment as a state trooper, patrolling Shelby County. However, he wasn't a year into his new job when he was met with an accident that is all too common in his line of work. In January of 1985, Moore was hit by a car and it knocked him almost 40 feet.

"Getting run over, that's how we lose more officers than anything else," said Moore.

After recovering from his injuries, Moore went back to work and in March of 1986 he was transferred to Lake County. In February of 1988, Moore was assigned to Dyer County. In 2008, he was promoted to sergeant.

"Since becoming sergeant, I have had several good men I have had the privilege of supervising. Really good men and great troopers. Dyer County has been a very good county to work and we have a great court system. We have a good relationship with all of the law enforcement agencies here, and also the rescue squad, TDOT, and the county road department. There are a lot of things we just couldn't get done without all of their help. One thing we have always been is short, and we really rely on help from city and county officers."

Moore said, as a state trooper, there were things you could always count on doing and there were also changes that happened frequently.

"Something that has never changed is you always write tickets and work wrecks," said Moore. "If you don't like doing something today, stick around, because it will change tomorrow. We have gone from everything being written by hand to where everything is done by computer. As long as the computers are working, it's great."

Moore's wife, Patricia, said her husband will miss being a state trooper because it was more than a job, it was his life.

"It's wasn't just a job for him," said Patricia Moore. "It never has been. He spent a lot of hours working that he didn't get paid for, but he continued to do it because he loved what he did. He was the perfect match for the job because he likes to fight crime, protect lives, and save property."

Moore's job called for him to work most weekends and holidays and be on-call for emergencies. Patricia Moore said it was something they had to get used to.

"You can't plan a whole lot, because when you do it is when he will be working late," said Patricia Moore. "We could never do anything on the weekends because it is not very often they get weekends or holidays. If we had family reunions he could come by for a little bit, but he couldn't stay for long."

Moore said he loved the job, but there was one part he could never get used to.

"Before they started having the chaplain's program, we had to tell families they had lost a loved one," said Robert Moore. "That was the hardest part of the job and that is one part I will never miss because I just hated having to do that."

When Moore experienced a death on the job, his wife could see the effects.

"You could always tell if it was someone he knew, or if they were young, or close to his age because he would not sleep for days," said Patricia Moore. "The children that get killed are the toughest."

Robert Moore still remembers a wreck he assisted in that affected him deeply that occurred on July 15, 2009, in which a youth was killed. The wreck happened on U.S. Highway 51 and Mill Creek Road, just outside of Halls, Tenn.

"Whether you know the person or not, you always think if I had been here I could have made a difference," said Robert Moore.

Over the years, Moore said there have been a number of things that have helped save people during wrecks.

"Since I've been working, there are three things that I think have saved a lot of lives: seat belts, air bags, and wing/air-evac helicopters," said Robert Moore. "You also have the Med in Memphis, which is one of the best trauma centers in the country. Plus, the paramedics and EMTs have different medicines and new procedures they perform to help save people. Many years ago, we just had ambulance drivers, and they just threw you on a cot and off you went."

With the job of state trooper, comes an element of danger when making traffic stops and apprehending suspects. Moore said he is thankful he has never had to use his service weapon to shoot anyone.

"I was very fortunate," said Moore. "I started out with a .357 Magnum Smith & Wesson, and then we went to a 9mm semi-automatic, and then a .40 caliber. Now we have a .357 Sig semi-automatic. Within the last few years, we were issued a Bushmaster AR 15 because the bad guys have so many weapons nowadays."

Robert Moore said he was able to work with a lot of good people over the years and said he couldn't name everyone that has helped him during his career.

Dyer County Sheriff Chief Deputy Mike Boals worked with Moore for many years on the highway patrol and he said they didn't come any better than Moore.

"He took a lot of pride in his job and was always available for whatever the situation called for," said Boals. "You could always count on him if you needed him."

THP Sgt. William Butler has been assigned to take over Moore's position as sergeant of Dyer County. Butler said he has known Moore for many years and his absence will be noticed.

"Robert Moore is an outstanding man and I'm going to miss him," said Butler.

So what does Moore intend to do, now that he is retired?

"My wife says I have to get a job," said Robert Moore jokingly. "She said, 'if you eat, you have to work'. I haven't filled out a job application in 30 years. So I need to brush up on my skills."

Moore continued, he would miss the people he took an oath to protect and serve. And he is honored to have had the privilege of being able to call himself a Tennessee State Trooper.

"I really appreciated being able to serve the citizens of the state of Tennessee," said Moore. "This is what I wanted to do with my life and it was a dream come true."

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Thank you for your service Sgt Moore. I am sure you had a positive effect on many young troopers and many of them followed in your footsteps. From one retiree to another, getting a job is the best thing you can do. It doesn't have to be full time, however, you have to get out of the house at least three times a week. After a life time career, an abrupt stop to being part of an organization, and making a daily contribution to an effort, is not an easy thing to do. I work part time and love it. Still making a contribution. Get a little fishing, golfing and target shooting done. Have fun...

-- Posted by Mister-D on Tue, Jul 23, 2013, at 2:11 AM

Congratulations on your retirement Robert!

Thank you for your years of service and dedication to your profession.

-- Posted by sheepdog on Tue, Jul 23, 2013, at 7:32 PM

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