To protect and serve – these words are etched into the minds and hearts of all law enforcement and public safety individuals. Without question or hesitation, these words prevail in their actions both on and off duty.
For our 2019 Walters State Distinguished Alumni Award winner, the words protect and serve only begin to scratch the surface on what he has provided over a lifetime of service. Mr. Ricky B. Atchley has also served as a leader in his field, an experienced teacher for those with open minds, a faithful supporter of higher education, and an inspiration to his friends, family, colleagues, and community.
Mr. Atchley was born and raised in Sevier County. After graduating from high school, he served in the United States Army from 1976-1979, in which he earned the Army Commendation Medal and Good Conduct Medal.
Pursuing his passion for public safety, he joined the reserve division of the Sevierville Police Department in 1982, and transferred to full time in 1986.
That year, Mr. Atchley also attended the Walters State Police Academy and proudly became the first graduate of the first class of the newly formed Academy. He continued his education at Walters State and graduated cum laude with an Associates of Applied Science degree in Public Safety and Law Enforcement.
In the Fall of 1987, he moved to the Pigeon Forge Police Department, where he served on its traffic division, patrol division, and as a school resource officer through his recent retirement on Aug. 4, 2019.
Mr. Atchley was instrumental to his coworkers and his community in his 32 years with the Pigeon Forge Police Department. He served as the commander of the police department’s honor guard, a firearms instructor, a field training officer where he trained 38 men and women, and eventually helped to supervise the field training evaluation program under the direction of another first class Walters State Police Academy graduate, Rod Carr. Mr. Atchley is also proud of his leadership with Moral Kombat, a program to assist and train troubled teens that have started down the wrong path.
He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Leslie, for 41 years and is a member of First Baptist Church in Sevierville.
Mr. Atchley has epitomized professionalism in his 37 years of law enforcement service. He serves as a pillar of inspiration to past, present, and future law enforcement officers and continues to demonstrate class, integrity, and the heart to always protect and serve.
He was honored with the Walters State 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement.