Gary Hall

CLARKSVILLE — A former Clarksville Police chief who served his community in multiple ways for more than four decades has died at 71.

Gary Peyton Hall, a U.S. Army veteran who served for 10 years as chief of the Clarksville Police Department in the 1990s, passed away Tuesday. He retired from the department in 2001 as a major, with 29 years on the force under his belt. He served another eight years as Clarksville Town Council Clerk Treasurer, his second term ending in 2012.

In his retirement years, Hall volunteered at nursing homes, according to his online obituary. He also enjoyed bowling, traveling and outdoor activities.

Current Clarksville Police Chief Mark Palmer started with the department just as Hall was finishing his tenure as chief; the two would work together for another 10 years, Hall leading the criminal investigative division as a major.

"The best thing to say about Gary was that he was very likable, he had a great personality," Palmer said. "He had that quality about him...when you met him, you remembered him."

Palmer said the late chief also brought a unique skill to the department and the region as a polygraph test examiner, which aided the investigative process not only with Clarksville, but the other departments who called on him. Attorneys too would use Hall's services in reading the polygraphs.

"That's something you don't find with a lot of departments — an in-house polygraph examiner," Palmer said. "When they were able to schedule those right away, what it led to...people who were guilty would just admit it right away.

"It was definitely a big bonus having somebody like that on hand."

Palmer also described Hall as an honest leader who worked to keep things open with the department.

"He pretty much told you exactly how he felt about things whether you liked them or not," Palmer said. "That was one of his unique qualities that came from his years in the investigative [side] of the agency.

"He kept things level and as transparent as he could. He was well known throughout the community."

Aprile Rickert is the crime and courts reporter at the News and Tribune. Contact her via email at aprile.rickert@newsandtribune.com or by phone at 812-206-2115. Follow her on Twitter: @Aperoll27.

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