About Gary

Get to Know Gary

Gary D. Behler is a Pennsylvanian by birth but a Tennessean by choice. He has lived in Chattanooga since attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice followed by a Master’s of Science in Criminal Justice Education, with honors. He is currently in his 28th year serving as an adjunct professor in Criminal Justice at UTC.


While studying at UTC Gary met his future wife, Jamie Barnett. They have now been married for 36 years. Jamie is a kindergarten teacher at the Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts. They have two children: Brittany, a teacher at Rivermont Elementary School and Jared, a music ministry apprentice and a full-time student. Their family worships at Bayside Baptist Church in Harrison.

Professional Experience

Gary Behler began his professional career as a Planner in the Development Office of Hamilton County Government. The next ten years he worked in the field of adult corrections, spending the first five years as Corrections Coordinator and then Assistant Administrator with the Hamilton County Corrections Department. The following five years he worked with Corrections Corporation of America, first as Assistant Warden for the Silverdale Detention Center, the nation’s first privately managed adult correctional facility, followed by a stint as Administrator of CCA’s Bureau of Prisons Community Treatment Center in Fayetteville, NC. Gary then worked for sixteen years with at-risk youth in residential child care as Director of Program Services for Bethel Bible Village in Hixson, Tennessee, helping that agency achieve national accreditation. From 2006-10 he served as Operations Director for First Things First, a non-profit organization specializing in education and prevention work to help strengthen families in the Chattanooga area.


  • Tennessee Human Rights Commission-Commissioner for the East Tennessee Grand Division; Appointed by Governor Bill Haslam, September, 2017
  • Children’s Advocacy Center of Hamilton County-Board Member 2016-present
  • First Things First Board Member 2011-17
  • SCOC Respect for Law Chairman 2000-present
  • Tennessee State Court Clerks Association Board of Directors 2014 present
  • East Tennessee State Court Clerks Association President 2015-16
  • East Tennessee State Court Clerks Association Vice President 2014-15
  • Scenic Chattanooga Optimist Club
  • Harrison Ruritan Club
  • University of Tennessee at Chattanooga-Adjunct Faculty Member 1980-present
  • Adjunct Faculty Member of the Year 1999
  • Salvation Army Residential Reentry Center Community Relations Board
  • Graduate of Leadership Chattanooga

Gary has served on a variety of local community initiatives including the Mayor’s Crime Task Force, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Public Safety Task Force and the Building Safe Communities Project with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.