Terry Dunn retires from GCDA

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Grayson County District Attorney Brett Smith, left, presents an award to retiring Domestic Violence Investigator Terry Dunn recently.

The Grayson County District Attorney's Office honored a public servant of more than 40 years this week at the GC commissioner's court meeting. Terry Dunn, a criminal investigator the past almost 18 years will retire at the end of the month. 

"There are probably dozens of women who are alive today because of Terry Dunn," GC DA Brett Smith told commissioners.

"There are hundreds of women who have been able to escape destructive violent relationships because of Terry Dunn. There are thousands of women in this county who are safer today because of Terry Dunn. This is has worked as a domestic violence investigator for the past 17 years and that doesn't even include the decades of law enforcement work he did at Sherman PD," he added.

Smith said Dunn is going to be hard to replace.

In a phone call after the meeting, Dunn said he is going to miss the folks he worked with at the county but it was simply time to move on.

He had worked for the Sherman Police Department for just short of 26 when he retired as a detective, he said. Then, Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown had just lost a domestic violence investigator to the position of constable, and  Dunn said he was asked to consider taking the position.

He took it and the years started flying by.

Dunn was 28 when he decided he wanted to be a police officer. By that time, he had already spent two years on active duty in the Navy and was in the reserves for six. He worked at Texas Instruments for a while but had decided to go back to school and get a degree. He received degrees in business and management from Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

But, he remembered a police he had known growing up. Dunn said the man was friends with his parents and made an impression.

"He just looked like what a cop was supposed to look like and always was  such a nice, nice person. I just always thought that was something I would want to do," he said. So he did.

Grayson County Sheriff Tom Watt Tuesday said Dunn was on duty the first time he walked into the briefing room at the Sherman Police Department. 

"I had no idea what I was in in for. We all know his wit, we all know just how intelligent he is. I learned so much from this man right here on how to be a good street cop," Watt said. 

"First off, he never called me anything but rookie," Watt said of Dunn. Watt said his initial training period at the PD was really quiet. He made it through without any major issues. Then came his first time to go out in the car all by himself.

"In my first five days by myself, I worked a fatality crash. A suicide that was particularly gruesome and a call Cross Roads Mobile home that I will never forget where a person was trying to kill themselves one cut at a time. And I remind you that this (pointing to Dunn) called me Rookie every single time."

Watt said the guy who was trying to kill himself asked Watt if he was new on the job. 

"I said well, yes sir I guess I am." 

"I could tell you're a rookie," the guy responded.

Watt said he thought that was probably due to Dunn's remarks at the time.

"When that call was over, the guy survived. I sat down on the curb at Cross Roads and I was thinking what in the heck have I gotten myself into. And Terry, the guy with all of the wit, and sarcasm and just dark humor you can possibly imagine, comes up and puts his arm on my shoulder and says, 'I ain't never seen anybody have to deal with these many calls of this nature this quickly.'"

Dunn told him to hang in there and Watt did. "It sunk in and it probably saved my career. I appreciate you brother," the sheriff said. 

Of Watt's comments, Dunn said, he could tell right away that the young Tom Watt was going to go places. He said Watt listened well and asked good questions and followed up on advice when given. 

The person that Dunn is liable to be listening to the most in the near future is his wife Beverly. She, he said, has a list of things for him to do not now that he is retired. The couple have three grown children including Officer Buffy Todd at Sherman Police Department, Michael Dunn who works for Texoma Community Center and Casey who is a house-husband and the father of a three-year-old little girl.

"She is a house on fire," the proud grandfather said of his youngest grand child. He and his wife also have a 12-year-old granddaughter and a 21 year old grandson and Dunn said he certainly plans to be make time in retirement to spend more time with his family.