News release from the governor’s office
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) Director David Purkey will return to the singular position of governor’s Homeland Security advisor and assistant commissioner of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS) after serving in dual roles at TEMA and DSHS for the past two years.
“David has capably served Tennesseans in these two capacities for the past two years, guiding TEMA’s response to devastating storms and their lasting effects as well as Homeland Security’s collaborative effort with local and federal law enforcement in the wake of the Chattanooga attack last July,” Haslam said. “Both roles are intense 24 hour-a-day efforts. His focus on cooperation has been critical in these two areas. I look forward to him bringing his extensive experience and focus to Homeland Security.”
Purkey will continue in the both roles until the next director of TEMA is named. A nationwide search is currently underway.
“It has been a privilege to serve with the employees at TEMA who tirelessly work behind the scenes to help Tennesseans prepare for and respond to emergency situations. I look forward to a continued partnership as I shift back into a full-time homeland security role,” Purkey said.
“The requirements for both jobs are tremendous in these days of increased global threats, and we hate to lose him in this department because he has done an outstanding job leading the day-to-day operations of TEMA,” Major General Max Haston, commissioner of the Department of Military, said.
“David is one of the most highly regarded state homeland security advisors in our nation. I value his advice and look forward to having him back full time to concentrate on the homeland security threats facing our state,” Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.
Purkey is a native of Hamblen County with more than 35 years of experience in state and local government and emergency management, including service as county emergency management director, Tennessee state trooper, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation special agent, and mayor of Hamblen County. He served in the Tennessee Army National Guard and United States Army Reserves. Purkey earned his bachelor’s degree in Public Health from East Tennessee State University and master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Tennessee.