LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Court security officer Wayne Mallory is one of the first faces seen by the thousands of visitors to the Laurel County Judicial Center each week.
For Mallory, a retired corrections officer, this part-time security officer job is another aspect of his lifelong career with law enforcement in the town he now calls his home.
A native of Twin Falls, Idaho, Mallory left his hometown almost immediately after graduating high school. In a complete contrast to his mountainous upbringing, he entered the U.S. Coast Guard where his life evolved around the wide open spaces of the ocean.
His military duty took him first to Alaska where he was active in search and rescue missions, assisting boats in distress — even jumping out of helicopters. The next assignment took him to the tropics of Hawaii two years later, before he crossed the United States again en route to San Francisco.
“In San Francisco, I did search and rescue and drug intradiction,” Mallory said. “We checked boats carrying illegal aliens and/or drugs. We did some rescue and recovery of people jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, although those who did were usually a recovery because the bridge is 400 feet high.”
From the West Coast, Mallory went to the east to Key West, Fla., where he worked again with drug enforcement as well as customs.
“In Key West, we stopped one boat carrying 27 tons of marijuana and 8 tons of cocaine,” he said. “When the uprising in Grenada happened in 1984, I went there where we patroled the islands. Then I went to Puerto Rico and did drug intradiction before I was sent to Washington state.”
In Washington, Mallory assisted the Native Americans living on reservations by serving as an EMT. He occasionally had an opportunity to continue assisting with law enforcement with drug intradiction, once again assisting with a boat carrying eight tons of pure cocaine.
After investigating illegal immigrants, performing search and rescue missions and some drug intradiction in San Diego, he left the Coast Guard in 1990 and applied for a position with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. His first job was in McMinnville, Ore., a medium security prison where he trained for correctional techniques and spent much time talking to and understanding the inmates. Two years later, he was transferred to the federal correctional facility in Manchester, where he worked for 17 years until his retirement in March 2010.
But after nine months of retirement, Mallory heard about part-time security jobs at the judicial center and, after talking to his wife, Debbie, decided to pursue that angle of law enforcement — an area that has sparked his interest since his teens.
“I enjoy meeting people and helping out. I like to think I make a difference in the community in doing this job,” he said. “For the last 20 years or more, I’ve experienced the stories and lives of people at the incarcerated end. Now I’m seeing the judicial system in action, the part that puts people in incarceration.”
Mallory and his wife reside in London with their 14-year-old son, Logan. Between Mallory’s part-time security job and Debbie’s full-time job as human resource manager at London’s HSBC, the couple keep busy attending baseball games during the spring and summer where Logan plays on the North Laurel High School team. It was in London that Mallory met his wife, a native of Mt. Vernon.
Though he has lived in Laurel County since 1992, Mallory said he goes to Idaho once a year to do some elk hunting. In fact, his wife got a hunting permit and bagged a cow elk last year.
“I don’t have much family left in Idaho since my parents passed away but I do go out there and visit friends and go hunting,” he said. “Kentucky is home, as long as I can visit Idaho once a year.”