Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Danny Tuggle, one of Captain Jerry East’s closest friends outside the Sheriff’s Office, described him as the “epitome” of what it means to be a public servant.
Tuggle said he first met East shortly after moving here in 1992 and became Hood County’s game warden. About 10 years ago, they spent a lot of time together as members of the Hood County Sheriff’s Posse and as they did their part in helping rebuild the rodeo arena.
“Jerry has always impressed me with his desire to help the people of this county in any way he could,” Tuggle said. “Public servant is an apt description of this man.”
East began his law enforcement career as a Hood County jailer, and ended up working for six different sheriffs. He served as a captain for both former Sheriff Allen Hardin and again was named captain under current Sheriff Roger Deeds.
Before he started in law enforcement, East had worked at a gas plant, was a long-haul truck driver and was foreman at a lumber yard. It was there that his number of friends and acquaintances began to grow to vast proportions.
“His wealth of knowledge of all people in Hood County is phenomenal,” Chief Deputy Biff Temple said. “If you’re looking for somebody, Jerry knows where to go.”
Deeds said East always went beyond the call of duty in his captain’s job as patrol division supervisor, which he took very seriously.
“He was always treating people with the upmost respect,” Deeds said. “He’s done a lot of good for the county as a captain. He’s definitely one of a kind.”
East said, “I always liked helping people, and that’s one of the main things you do (as a deputy). To protect and serve – that’s a big part of law enforcement.”
NEXT ON THE AGENDA
Continued travel – including lots of fly fishing – was the obvious answer for what’s next on the agenda for East and his wife.
They also will be spending more time with their three daughters – Cristi Hyde of Granbury, Amy Flippin of Tolar and Gena Gilliam of Lipan – and of course their six grandchildren.
East’s reputation as a real working cowboy – with foreman Billy Pruitt on the Rocking X Ranch, owned by Mike and Lou Cagle – will continue to flourish. He hopes to return to working on the ranch.
But even with all those activities, he won’t be totally absent from the Sheriff’s Office.
“He asked to stay on part-time as a reserve,” Deeds said. “He would be hard to replace because of everything he did for me and for this office and the county because he always went above and beyond. He always gave 110 percent.”
It was just too hard to walk away from law enforcement, the captain said.