ALABAMA, USA — Nate Allen, who left his job as deputy chief at the Knoxville Police Department in 2016 to become chief of the Decatur, Ala., Police Department, announced Tuesday his retirement from the North Alabama job.
Allen said in an announcement he was leaving immediately and would be available to assist in the transition. An interim chief has been named for the Decatur department.
"After 36 years of service, I decided to retire and spend more time with my family and rest," Allen's Facebook announcement states. "I am so thankful for the support from the citizens, command staff, troops and all of the employees under my command.
"I am very proud of the accomplishments we made over the past 6 years and the reputation this department has across the country. Retiring from a 36-year career brings bitter sweet feelings but I know we all will be alright. I am looking forward to the next chapter in my life and I wish nothing but the best for this department and the City of Decatur."
Decatur is southwest of Huntsville near the Tennessee line. It has a population of about 55,000.
Allen's departure from Decatur comes as Knoxville looks for a new police chief. The city is conducting listening sessions to replace Eve Thomas, who announced late last year she would retire in May.
When he left Knoxville, Allen oversaw the Criminal Investigations Division. He'd previously been a commander over the East Patrol District and been the city's homeland security coordinator.
He was hailed by the city and KPD at the time as being "instrumental throughout his career in building positive relationships with Knoxville's many diverse communities."
After Thomas announced her retirement in late 2021, WBIR asked her about Allen and his time with KPD. She was complimentary, saying she'd enjoyed working with him.
WBIR asked if he could be a candidate for chief.
"He's doing well over there in Alabama, I'm not sure that you can come back after you've retired to that position. So I'm not sure if that's really a viable option. But you know, I can tell you, when I worked for him, he always listened to me. And I think that's huge in a leader.
"I think you really need to have some good listening skills, because you as a leader, you don't know everything, you have to take all the information, compile it, and then make the best decision. So I think listening is a huge, huge thing for whoever comes in, for sure."
WBIR reporter Grace King contributed to this story.