By Associated Press - Thursday, December 10, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The leader of the Tennessee Highway Patrol is retiring next week after 33 years with the agency.

Col. Dereck Stewart began as a state trooper in Montgomery County in 1987 and rose to become colonel in 2018. He is the first African American to serve as colonel.

He will be succeeded by Lt. Col. Matt Perry, who joined the agency in 2004, the THP said in a news release.

“Serving the Tennessee Highway Patrol as the 14th Colonel is one of the greatest honors of my career,” Stewart said in the release.

Stewart’s retirement is effective Tuesday.

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