Dan Terry, a respected New Haven police officer, has been serving for 22 years. He has recently taken over for John Wayne Sheible, who was police chief for 21 years.
Dan Terry started with the New Haven Police Force as a favor to a former police chief he worked under, who, at the time, was the assistant chief in New Haven. After 10 years of police work, Mr. Terry decided to quit due to the small town politics. He started working part-time for the New Haven Police Department when the city council authorized more officers when an officer-involved shooting occurred 22 years ago.
“Chief Sheible had been training me for the past 11 years, preparing me to take over when he retired. Almost everything I am doing now, I had done in some capacity in the past few years. I was well trained and ready to take his position, and while the job is quite a bit busier now and there is much less time for me to get into a squad car and do ‘routine police work,’ so far I’ve been able to handle whatever comes up.”
This promotion meant a lot to Chief Terry-- he earned the trust and respect of those making such an important decision.
“I’m sure it was a tough decision,” quoted Dan Terry. “I know one of the other applicants from Washington P.D. and know his training and abilities. I’m sure he would have made a fine chief. In the end, I believe the fact that I know the city and the people, and more importantly they know me, helped me win out.”
Mr. Terry’s initial reaction to this new promotion was one all can understand. According to him, he was “excited, relieved, and a little concerned, as I kind of miss the days when my only responsibility was routine patrol and detective work.”
Dan Terry has made some changes over the last 11 years while working as second-in-command to Chief John Sheible. Before Mr. Sheible left, the department lost Sergeant Parks, who had over 20 years of experience, and Dave Burke went to the Washington Police-- taking nearly 10 years of experience with him. Within a couple of months, the department had lost 60+ years of training and service.
“We have to teach a whole new group not only how to do police work, but how to do it our way,” commented Mr. Dan Terry. “New Haven is not like police work in St. Louis, Ferguson, or even Washington. People here expect a different kind of law enforcement, one more neighborly. Of course, we have Sgt. Jacki Brown, who has worked here several years now, and Sgt. Darrell Flora, who had 10 years of experience in Washington Police.”
This new job was just a natural thing for Dan to do.
“I can’t say there was any one time I decided to run for the job. After 11 years of running the department when the chief was away on vacation or sick, it just seemed the natural thing to do. It’s not really different than my last position, since, as I said, Chief Sheible was preparing me for this. But now it’s all on me.”
“I worry about the officers when I’m away, making sure they have time with their families, keeping them satisfied with the job and keeping them on top of it. With their families in mind, we did change the shift operation from eight hours a day, five days a week to 12-hour shifts, with more days off. It’s what the officers wanted, to give them more time at home with their own children and families. I, myself, don’t like 12-hour shifts, and struggled with the decision, weighing possible negative effects against positive ones. Making long-range decisions without John to throw ideas at and get feedback is something new.”
In the past, Dan Terry served in the U.S. Coast Guard and, later on, did police work in Gerald. He had many jobs in places like Bourbon (where eventually he served as the chief for 3 years), Owensville, and Gerald again. He then went back to Police Academy (twice), was trained by the FBI as a firearms instructor, and the Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad to further his education and training. He then returned to New Haven, where he has been ever since.
When Dan was asked what he missed about working his old job, this is what he responded with: “I miss the fun of car stops. One year I made 14 DWI’s and cracked big-time burglary. I’ve helped put two child molesters away, and gotten several confessions for different crimes. Now it’s calculating traffic stops, overtime payments, maintaining records and coordinating training and scheduling, while maintaining the Uniform Crime Reporting statistics and sending off records of juvenile contacts to the Federal Government watchdog group and all motor vehicle accidents to the proper state offices for insurance purposes. Sometimes I just miss the simplicity of traffic control, or writing a ticket.”
Mr. Dan Terry has been a part of our community for many years and we will continue to appreciate what he does to keep all of us citizens safe.