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Hero Down: Dickson Police Officer Zachary McCay Dies After Brief Illness

Nashville, TN – Dickson Police Department (DPD) Officer Zachary “Zack” McCay died on May 5 after a brief illness, according to his department.

The 45-year-old officer passed away at Saint Thomas Hospital West, according to his obituary.

His exact cause of death was not released.

“Zack will be tremendously missed by his family in blue and the public he served,” DPD Chief Jeff Lewis said in a statement the following day. “He was a great officer who always had a positive attitude and a contagious smile.”

Officer McCay served in the U.S. Marine Corps as an infantryman from 1996 until 2000, according to his obituary.

In 2004, he began serving as a section sergeant and drill sergeant with the U.S. Army Reserve.

Officer McCay joined the DPD on April 13, 2017, where he became one of the department’s first motorcycle officers, the DPD said in a Facebook post.

He also served on the agency’s Special Operations Response Team.

Officer McCay became a local celebrity after a video of him dancing while directing traffic outside a high school went viral on social media.

Everyone knew him as the “dancing cop,” the DPD noted.

“I went and watched him one day and it was hilarious,” Chief Lewis told the Tennessean. “He made a lot of kids’ day when they would pull into the high school and see him out there enjoying himself and his job.”

“Anywhere and whatever he did, he gave it a thousand percent,” the chief added. “He enjoyed the community. He cared about the community. He cared about the people here and you could tell that by the way he performed his duties.”

After Officer McCay fell ill, many students contacted the DPD to see how he was doing, Chief Lewis told the Tennessean.

“He touched a lot of lives at the high school,” he said. “He enjoyed being a police officer. I think he mostly enjoyed helping people.”

Officer McCay leaves behind his wife, Jennifer, and his daughter, Kaylee, according to his obituary.

He is also survived by his siblings and many friends.

Officer McCay was laid to rest on May 10.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Dickson Police Department Officer Zachary “Zack” McCay, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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