(July 31, 2022) The Nashville Police Department today mourns the death of retired Chief of Police Joe D. Casey, who died this morning on his 96th birthday.
Chief Casey served in the police department for nearly 38 years following his appointment as a patrolman in November 1951. He rose through the ranks and was appointed acting Chief of Police in November 1973, then permanent Chief in May 1974. Chief Casey retired in July 1989. Among the literally hundreds of police officers hired during Chief Casey’s tenure was Chief John Drake, who entered the Police Department Academy in March 1988, and who, like Chief Casey, is a native Nashvillian.
Chief Drake issued this statement on Chief Casey’s passing:
“Chief Casey’s legacy is his dedication to Nashville and law enforcement, his caring concern for the employees of our department, and his effort to make life better for those less fortunate. It was Chief Casey who started our annual Christmas Basket Program for the disadvantaged in 1961 by serving two families. This year, approximately 300 households will receive gifts of food and toys on Christmas Eve morning because of the tradition he started.
Chief Casey had a love for Special Olympics, and personally enlisted the support of Tennessee law enforcement agencies to assist in the program for children and young adults with mental and physical disabilities.
Chief Casey was my friend. I am grateful to have served with him at the beginning of my career, and I am thankful for his support during my service as Chief.”
Chief Casey served as president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in 1987, and as president of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police (TACP) from 1976-1982. The TACP annually bestows the Joe Casey Award to an active or retired chief in recognition of outstanding character and service. Chief Casey delighted in personally presenting the award over the years, but was unable to do so earlier this month at the TACP meeting in Chattanooga due to failing health.