DOBSON — You know a man loves his work when he chooses to spend his retirement doing just that — working.
After 30 years as a N.C. State Bureau of Investigation special agent, Captain Lloyd Terry joined the Surry County Sheriff’s Office on March 1.
“It’s where my heart lies,” said Terry, noting that he got his start in law enforcement as a Cleveland County sheriff’s deputy.
“I wanted to return to local law enforcement before I can’t do it anymore,” he said of his choice to keep at it post-retirement.
“It’s an opportunity to do something I love one more time.”
Terry, whose experience includes a stint as a part-time police chief in Polkville early on in his career, became familiar with the local area through his work with the SBI.
As an ASAC — Assistant Special Agent in Charge — assigned to the SBI northwestern district based in Hickory, he partnered with local law enforcement from 13 different counties including Surry.
Terry spent so much time in this neck of the woods he asked to be transferred here.
In 2000, he moved to Lowgap, where he resides and is a choir-singing member of Mountain View Baptist Church.
“The reason I stayed was how I was treated and accepted,” said Terry.
When Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson heard that Terry would be retiring from the SBI, he moved to re-establish the position of captain that had not existed within the local agency for several years.
“He’s worked all over the state with any number of federal and local authorities,” Atkinson said. “There’s not a situation that he doesn’t have experience, a frame of reference. That’s what makes him uniquely qualified.”
Facing retirement, Terry had offers from other counties.
“That’s the reason I asked the board to take urgent action,” Atkinson said, referring to a closed session in late February where the sheriff asked the Surry County Board of Commissioners to add the position.
The board voted unanimously to approve the new position, the $46,000 salary costing the county about $58,000.
“It’s hard to come across someone with more clubs in his bag than he did,” the sheriff said.
Terry brings 16 years as a state and federally trained crisis negotiator, advanced training, and experience in nearly every aspect of law enforcement including homicide investigations, anti-terrorism and drug investigations.
One important “club” in the “bag,” is Terry’s strong moral character, Atkinson said.
“Having a good, professional, well-trained officer is one thing. Having one that has the kind of dependability and faith is hard to find.”
Atkinson said Terry had worked with the local agency on many investigations over the years and he’s familiar with the new captain’s approach.
“About every homicide in Surry County since I’ve been around he was a part of,” Atkinson said. “He’s always the first one to be on the scene and the last one to leave. We worked together as a team.”
The captain will assist the sheriff administratively and help galvanize the criminal investigation team.
“He has the understanding of what it takes to make the whole program work,” how logistics and case management play a role in both situations and investigations, the sheriff said.
He added that Terry’s familiarity with the sheriff’s office contributed to why he was a good fit.
“He knows the good, the bad and the ugly,” Atkinson said. “It makes me extremely proud of the men and women of the sheriff’s office. Lloyd had the opportunity to go many other places and he knew this agency intimately. It speaks well for our people who work here that he chose us.”
Terry said the people — including Atkinson — are indeed why he chose Surry County.
“With my years and reputation I could never work for someone I didn’t really believe in. What made it unique for me to come here was I was accepted. It wasn’t difficult for me to come in and show up for work.”
He’s looking forward to working with the detectives already on staff.
“It’s a really good team of criminal investigators,” Terry said. “I think they truly understand I am here to help. This is an opportunity to give them any knowledge or experience to make it better. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to help them further their career.”
Terry didn’t have much of a chance to ease into the job.
Within a couple weeks of starting, he assisted a 30-hour negotiation with an armed suspect barricaded inside a home. The situation was resolved with no injuries.
“I’m a team player, I always have been. It’s about the agency,” said Terry, admitting he was looking forward to wearing a uniform again for the first time in 30 years.
“I’m very thankful to be here,” Terry said. “I prayed about it. I honestly think this is where good Lord led me.”
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.