Chief Allen retiring after 30 years of service in Luverne
“I started policing July 23, 1986, on a Wednesday morning. I have been truly blessed, and I have been fortunate to wear the blue and serve the citizens of Luverne,” said Luverne Chief of Police Paul Allen.
“This is such a wonderful community; we are so blessed to be in a small town. I have enjoyed these years working with some mighty fine people.”
After serving the City of Luverne for 30 years, with a heavy heart Allen has decided to turn in his badge and retire.
While Allen may not originally be from Crenshaw County, he has certainly become a staple to the community.
Allen states that his roots trace back to just one county over in Coffee County in a little community called Bluff Springs.
His first introduction to Luverne took place when he began visiting the Luverne Church of Christ for services in 1967.
After completing his training at the Montgomery Police Academy on a cold Jan. 5 morning in 1987, Allen started with the Luverne Police Department.
“Once I completed that, I came back and started night shift a couple of years until I went to second shift and then finally first shift,” Allen said.
During his time on the force, Allen has had the pleasure of working with five mayors: Clemont Carpenter, John Harrison, Joe Rex Sport, Dr. Patrick Walker and Ed Beasley.
Allen says he has also had the pleasure of serving under three Chiefs of Police while on the force: Grady Johnson, Kent Cochran and Bob Davis.
Earlier on in his career, Allen said he had more than one job offer come his way, but through it all he remained faithful to Luverne.
“I’ve never been one to swap around in work. By me staying here, it has truly blessed me,” he said.
Allen held many offices in the Luverne Police Department over the years before taking his current position as chief.
In 1990, he became Investigator, and from Nov. 1991 to May 1994 he worked with narcotics on the Drug Task Force. In 1994, he became Assistant Chief under Chief Bob Davis until Jan. 2005 when he was named Chief of Police.
Since then, Allen has had the pleasure of getting to know multiple officers and as many residents of Luverne as possible.
Being a man who loves to chat, Allen has gotten to know his fair share of people around town, and it is said that he truly emulates the city’s slogan: The Friendliest City in the South.
With the plans of retirement on the horizon, Allen now looks to his future as an open book of possibilities.
“I’ve been thinking about this since June. I’ve played it back and forth in my head whether I’m going to retire. What I plan to do when I retire is finish out the 2017 deer season in the woods, do a lot of fishing and I want to get a part-time job,” he says.
“I want to do something around 25-28 hours a week, something that has me out in the public. I want to be around people. I’m not sure which avenue that will take me down right now, but I do look forward to the next chapter in my life.”
Allen says what he will miss the most about his time on the force is the camaraderie he feels with his fellow officers and with the residents of the city.
“I’ll also miss riding around every day, seeing everybody, stopping and talking, because I love to talk,” Allen said.
“In general, I’ll miss being around people. I love people, I truly do.”
While there have been many lessons he has learned as an officer, his advice for those currently in law enforcement or those pursuing a career in law enforcement is the same: “Never forget your training, and always be loyal to the citizens you serve. Never tarnish your badge. Remember that we are here to serve and protect.”
Even though Allen will be disengaging a bit from his previously active role in City Council meetings and discussions, he feels certain that the fate of the city rests in more than capable hands.
“At this time, we have a wonderful bunch in the council. We have three new members, a new mayor and they are going to be really, really good for the city,” Allen said.
“I know each and every one of the councilmembers and the mayor has the best interest for the City of Luverne. They will look over and make the wise choice for the next chief.”
Currently, applications for the position of Luverne Chief of Police are being taken at City Hall. Even though Allen will not personally be involved in the selection and hiring process of a new chief, he says he is more than happy to lend a hand and friendly words of advice is asked.
“I always tell my guys, if you need me, call me. I don’t care if it’s 3 o’clock in the evening or 3 o’clock in the morning; call me,” Allen said.
While it is sad for him to say goodbye to the work that brought him immeasurable joy over the past 30 years, Allen does not look to the future with regret or sorrow.
He knows that it is time now for him to take the lessons he has learned and the memories he has made and head off into the next phase of his life.
Allen says his last day on the force will be Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017.
“It has been a wonderful ride. One of the things I’ve always lived by here is, if you always remember to keep God first, family second and work third, you can’t go wrong,” he said.
“It has been my pleasure and my wonderful fortune to have been able to have spent my whole career here. Thirty years, six months and a day; how blessed I am.”