City officers reflect on careers
By Shelley Smith
SALISBURY — More than 130 years of experience walked out the doors of the Salisbury Police Department last week as four police officers and one telecommunicator retired.
“I can remember when I began my law enforcement career, each one of these folks, all of them, were already in the prime of their career before I came in the door,” Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins said. “I have learned and benefitted from every single one of these folks.
“Those of us in law enforcement, we build a bond, and we’ve still got that bond.”
A retirement ceremony was held for them Friday.
• • •
Vicki Hare, telecommunicator:
• Sixteen years with the Salisbury Police Department, more than 15 years as a police officer in Clearwater, Fla. prior to joining the SPD
Hare says her most memorable time with the department was the time when she had to dispatch Salisbury Police officers to a shooting in East Spencer with two officers down.
“The hardest part was getting my thoughts together before I dispatched,” she said. “If I would have said, ‘Two officers down,’ that’s all the officers would have ever heard.
“I had to let them know that they had to respond outside of their jurisdiction, had to give them all directions on how to get there, and needed them to know that two officers had been shot.”
Hare says she’ll always remember “the feeling of brotherhood.
“It really is a family,” she said, “and we’re all in this together.”
In her free time Hare will spend her time doing arts and crafts, continue professionally decorating cakes and will become more active at her church and spend more time with her family and friends.
• • •
Detective Danny Dyles:
• A police officer with the department for 22 years. He was a patrol officer for seven years and spent the remainder of his time in criminal investigations
• He was a general investigator for first four years, then a drug investigator for 11 years
Dyles said he’ll always remember the cases over the years.
“It’s been a long time, it’s been a good career,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of good times, a lot of exciting times that most people don’t get to do.”
And he’ll miss the “good cases,” he said, “getting those folks off the street.”
In his free time Dyles will serve as a reserve officer for the department and plans to teach scuba diving.
• • •
Officer Phil Simmons:
• Has 29 years with the department, a career patrol officer
Simmons says he’ll always remember two “outstanding” cases, he said.
The first was a moonshine bust in the late 1980s.
“A car broke down on Jake Alexander and someone called and said there was moonshine jugs in the trunk, but the car was already on its way back to Albemarle being towed,” he said. “I called them and told them to come back.”
Simmons said at least 15 gallons of moonshine were found in the trunk.
The second memorable case, he said, happened while he was patrolling about 2 a.m. one morning around Food Lion on Jake Alexander Boulevard and N.C. 150, when Food Lion was open 24 hours.
“I came up to a car behind the building and when I came to the south side of the building it took off,” he said. “I went to stop it, and when I did I walked to the passenger side of the car and found three gentlemen dressed in black.
“They were ready to rob Food Lion.”
Simmons said the men had two pistol-grip shotguns on the floorboard of the car.
“I arrested them for carrying a concealed weapon, and advised them of their rights,” he said. “They confessed they were ready to rob Food Lion.”
He charged them all with conspiracy to commit a robbery.
Simmons says he’ll always remember his coworkers.
“The city of Salisbury Police Department has some of the best coworkers you could work with because you depend on them,” he said.
Simmons will become a reserve officer with the department.
• • •
Officer Mark Shue:
• Has 32 years in law enforcement, beginning his career with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office and transferred to the Salisbury Police Department and becoming a patrol officer
• Joined the canine unit and the Special Response Team in 1988, and he was a field training officer
Shue calls his retirement “bittersweet.”
“I can look around this room at all these officers and have stories I can tell you about experiences with each one of them,” he said. “Chases, working cases, catching bad guys, laughing, crying.
“But the one thing I’m most proud of is my son who became an officer in Spencer. He’s a brand new officer and I think about all the close calls and scary situations I’ve been in through the years, and I hope he’s as lucky as I am.”
Shue will continue police work by being a reserve officer and will teach canine training at local colleges. He plans to do a lot more hunting, fishing and gardening, and riding his motorcycle in his free time.
• • •
Lt. Karen Barbee:
• She was an officer for 32 years, working patrol, services DARE, K9 officer and field training officer
• Active with Prevent Child Abuse Rowan, the organization representing police women in North Carolina, N.C. Concerns of Police Survivors and the N.C. Police Dog Association
Barbee said she’ll never forget serial killer George Kent Wallace making a stop in Salisbury. He had abducted and killed people in Texas, and then tried to abduct several people here.
“We had people from this area that he had attempted to abduct, but luckily we didn’t have a murder,” Barbee said. “His efforts were foiled because they talked back to him.”
Barbee said she’ll also remember all of the captures she had with her four police dogs: Silver, Opie, Andy and Rockett.
And she’ll miss “serving the people,” she said.
“I love this community and I grew up here,” she said. “And I just like it to be safe and I just feel sad that I’m not going to be a part of that.
“My job is truly the love of my life.”
Barbee was the fifth female hired with the Salisbury Police Department, the first sworn female officer to serve 30 years and the first female lieutenant to retire.