Former Hamblen County Mayor David Purkey appointed as TEMA director

David Purkey image

David Purkey

By Michael Williams

Former Hamblen County Mayor David Purkey has been appointed as deputy commissioner of the Military Department where he will direct the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency by Gov. Bill Haslam.

TEMA director Jim Bassham retired in April leaving the position vacant. During that vacancy Purkey served as interim director for TEMA. In his new position Purkey will continue to serve as the governor’s Homeland Security advisor and assistant commissioner for the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

“David has extensive experience in emergency management and safety, and he knows how critical it is for state and local governments to cooperate during emergencies,” Haslam stated. “I appreciate his continued dedication and willingness to serve his fellow Tennesseans.”

A native of Hamblen County, Purkey graduated from East Tennessee State University in 1981 with a bachelor’s in Public Health.  He earned a master’s in Public Health in 1987 from the University of Tennessee.

“Governor Haslam, Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons, and Major General Max Haston have placed a great amount of trust and confidence in my abilities to lead public safety operations across our state,” Purkey said. “The Military Department as well as the Department of Safety and Homeland Security have accepted me as a member of their teams, and I promise my colleagues and local governments that I will not forget where I came from.”

Purkey was appointed to the vacancy of Hamblen County mayor in 1995 and was elected four times before voluntarily retiring in 2010.

During his career in law enforcement Purkey has served as a 9-1-1 dispatcher, the Morristown – Hamblen County Emergency Management director, Tennessee state trooper, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation special agent assigned to the Chattanooga region and police accreditation manager for the City of Morristown.

A veteran of the armed forces, Purkey served in the Tennessee Army National Guard and United States Army Reserves for eight years, and he has been a licensed emergency medical technician for the past 35 years.

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