Jerry Kennedy, a former Denver Police division chief and close friend of Elvis Presley, dies

The ‘John Wayne’ of DPD was 90 years old.

(9News) DENVER — He served with the Denver Police Department for 34 years, eventually rising to the rank of division chief, but he was best known by many as a “King’s” close friend.

Jim Collier spent 34 years with the Denver Police Department, including one year as chief of the department in the early 90s. During that time, he said he met hundreds, if not thousands of officers, but no one as memorable as Division Chief Jerry Kennedy.

“When he walked in the room, you knew something was going to happen,” Collier said. “Everybody in the department knew who he was; everybody in the city of Denver knew who he was.”

Collier said Kennedy was a cop’s cop who devoted his professional life to making Denver’s streets safer. In many circles, though, he was known as a “King’s” good friend.

In the early 1970s, Kennedy worked on Elvis Presley’s security detail when Presley played concerts in Denver. The two soon became close friends.

“They were deeply, deeply involved with each other and very close,” Collier said.

Over the years, Presley bought Kennedy a brand new car, paid for gym equipment at the District Two station house, and sang at the funeral of Kennedy’s brother.

“I remember Jerry telling me, ‘You can’t compliment anything Elvis has got or wearing because he would take it off and give it to you,'” Collier said.

For his part, Kennedy helped make the “King of Rock and Roll” an honorary Denver Police captain and got Elvis some time in the field, according to Collier, who said Elvis went along on at least one drug raid with DPD’s narcotics squad, thanks to Jerry Kennedy.

“They would secure the place and then they would let him come in and see ‘this is where they hide it,'” Collier said.

A larger-than-life figure is how Collier described Jerry Kennedy, who died late last week at the age of 90. A towering figure in DPD history, the likes of whom Collier said Denver will never see again.

“He was the John Wayne of the Denver Police Department,” Collier said. “That’s the passing of a legend. It’s an era that will never be repeated.”

Kennedy’s funeral will be held Friday at Holy Family Catholic Church in Denver.

Not surprisingly, a large crowd is expected.