Local deputy recognized for 20 years of service
Sheriff: 'He's worked in about every phase of law enforcement'
Lt. Gary Allen, evidence and transport officer with the Barry County Sheriff's Department, was recognized recently for 20 years of service to the Barry County Sheriff's Department, and he was presented with a special plaque by Sheriff Mick Epperly.
Epperly said over the years, Allen has worked in just about every area of law enforcement possible during his years with the county, and his service is greatly appreciated.
Early in his career, Allen started out working with the fire department and ambulance, then transitioned to law enforcement working as a deputy.
"He started out in patrol, then worked as an evidence officer and in transport," Epperly said. "He was also a marijuana eradication officer here. In the summer, when marijuana gets to growing, he would coordinate flights with the highway patrol, and set up GPS concordances for them to find it by helicopter. We made several arrests that way. Gary's years of leadership helped on many occasions. He's done everything we asked him for, and more."
Allen has also served as a bailiff for Barry County Judges Robert Foulke, Johnnie Cox and Jack Goodman.
"And he worked as a dispatcher for awhile," Epperly said. "So he's worked about every phase of law enforcement."
Epperly and Allen, who started working for the county about the same time frame 20 years ago, recalled stories of how differently the department was set up then, compared to now.
"Deputies had to book in their own prisoners," Epperly recalled. "We'd book them in right next to the radio."
Through the years, Allen has collected evidence for and testified on many cases resulting in the arrest and prosecution of criminals, Epperly said.
"Over the last 20 years, he's served on murder cases and has been involved with a lot of the collecting of evidence," Epperly said. "And it doesn't end there. The deputies have to log evidence in, and transport it to the crime lab for analysis, and also give the prosecuting attorney something to prosecute cases with. So it takes a lot of their time, and those [cases] have to be done properly, through a chain of events. They have to be signed off on properly and it all has to be done in order or a case can be thrown out. Gary has made sure that's been done very well. It takes a lot of teamwork. One officer doesn't do it all himself."
Allen said addressing the drug problem has been one of the highlights of his career.
"Just being able to take part in cases has been great, especially working real close with the FBI on the Rowen Ford case," he said
Allen lives in Jenkins and is married to Donna Allen, who works at Walmart in Bentonville, Ark.. He has a stepdaughter, Dana, three grandchildren, and one on the way.
"His award is well-deserved," Epperly said.