James “Rusty” Pool was raised in Dallas, Texas, but lived in the Flag Pond community of Unicoi County for the past 17 years.
In June 1964, at the age of 17, and 10 days after graduating from high school, Rusty enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Duty stations included tours of duty in the U.S., the Philippines, and Vietnam. He was discharged from active duty as a Petty Officer 2nd class (E-5). His military decorations include the National Defense Medal, the Vietnam Service Ribbon with 3 campaign stars, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Navy Combat Action Ribbon, the Navy Unit Commendation Medal and the Navy Good Conduct Medal.
Rusty was an amateur boxer, competing in Golden Gloves boxing Tournaments from the age of 14 until he entered the service. While stationed at the Sangley Point Naval Air Station in the Philippines he joined the base boxing team. In 1966 he won the All-Navy/Marine Corps Philippines Command lightweight championship.
After being honorably discharged Rusty worked full time and attended college part time on the G.I. Bill, ultimately graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice in 1977.
Rusty joined the Dallas Police Department in 1973, where he worked for 27 years as a Patrol Officer, a Field Training Officer, a Patrol Sergeant, and a Crimes against Persons Robbery/Homicide/Assaults Investigator. He earned the Master Peace Officer Certification, which is the highest of 4 law enforcement certifications obtainable in the State of Texas. In 1988, he was sworn in as a special deputy U.S. Marshall and worked as an undercover investigator for a year with a joint FBI/Dallas Police Dept. Property Crimes Task Force.
Rusty was one of the highest decorated officers on the Dallas Police Department, which has over 3,600 officers. In 1986, he was the 33rd officer in the history of the Dallas Police Department to be awarded the department’s Medal for Valor after rescuing an unconscious person from a wrecked vehicle that was completely engulfed in flames.
Other awards Rusty received during his police career include 2 Life-Saving awards, 2 Certificate of Merit awards, the Police Commendation Bar, the Departmental Civic Achievement Bar, the City of Dallas Shining Star Ethics Award, and the Departmental Expert Pistol Shot Bar. Rusty was named DPD’s Officer of the Month on 5 different occasions and was named DPD’s Officer of the Year in 1987. He was named the Dallas Community Awards Committee Outstanding Officer of the year, the Public Safety Support Group’s Police Officer of the Year and the Dallas Police Association’s Cop’s Cop Peer Award.
In addition, Rusty received in excess of 90 written personal commendations from citizens and supervisors for courtesy, professionalism and excellent job performance.
Rusty honorably retired from the Dallas Police Dept. after 27 years of service and moved his family to TN. He stayed retired for 6 months before he became restless and decided to go back to work. He went to work for the State of Tennessee, as a Regional Abuse/Neglect/Exploitation Investigator for the State of Tennessee Division of Developmental Disabilities, where he stayed for 9 years. He retired again in 2010. He was the owner/operator of AAA Tax Service in Erwin. In the off-season he enjoyed traveling on cross-country trips across the U.S. on his motorcycle.
Rusty is a 4-time Commander of Erwin’s American Legion Post 25 and was the editor of their monthly newsletter.
He is survived by Jennifer, his wife of 28 years, daughters: Julie Gould (P.J.) Levy of TX, Rebecca (Rhett) Wells of TX, and Amber Pool of TN; sons: Matthew Pool of TX, and Aaron Pool of TN, grandchildren: Logan, Fielder, Cooper, Lilah and Parker as well as numerous cousins and other relatives.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made in memory of Rusty to: American Legion Post 25, NED LYLE UCHS SCHOLARSHIP, c/o Charles King, 222 4th Street, Erwin, TN 37650.
The family will receive friends from 5:00 PM until the hour of service on Monday, May 7, 2018 at the Robert Ledford Funeral Home Chapel. Reverend Craig Shelton will officiate at the 7:00 pm funeral service. Music will be provided by Spivey Mountain Boys.
Committal service with Military Honors will be conducted at a later date in the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.
Online condolences, photos and memories may be shared with the Pool family through our complimentary, interactive Book of Memories at www.ledfordfuneralhomes.com.
Robert Ledford Funeral Home, 720 Ohio Avenue, Erwin, is privileged to serve the Pool family. (423) 743-1380.