Kannapolis police chief retiring at end of year

Published 2:01 pm Tuesday, December 10, 2019

KANNAPOLIS — After serving as police chief since 2007, Woody Chavis has announced his retirement.

His last day will be Dec. 27. Terry Spry will serve as interim chief during the search for Kannapolis’ next police chief, which will begin in January.

Spry, who joined the department in 1994, was promoted to his current rank, captain, in 2015. He’s worked as a patrol officer, traffic officer, criminal investigator and patrol supervisor.

Chavis is a Kannapolis native who says his childhood dream was to become a police officer.

“I can remember being a small child and walking downtown with my mother. I would always stop and talk to any police officer. I knew at that age, that being a police officer, was all I wanted to do,” he said.

He graduated from A.L. Brown High School and joined the U.S. Army, where he served as a military police officer in Germany. After leaving the Army there were no openings in the Kannapolis Police Department so he worked at the mill in the tin shop and was a volunteer firefighter.

But Chavis still wanted to pursue his goal of becoming a police officer, so he earned associate degrees in law enforcement, industrial safety, security and health management from Central Piedmont Community College and attended Pfeiffer University. In 1983, he was offered a position as a patrol officer with the Kannapolis Police Department.

At that time the Kannapolis Police Department was part of the Cabarrus County Sherriff’s Department because the city was not incorporated until 1984. He was given a hand-me-down revolver, a hand-me-down uniform and a used Mercury Zephyr.

Since joining the department, Chavis has served in every division of the department during his career. He was a detective in criminal investigations, sergeant of the vice/narcotics unit, lieutenant of field operations/patrol, captain of support services, captain of field operations and major of field operations. He continued his education by graduating from the FBI National Academy in 1995.

“Chief Chavis has been a critically important stabilizing influence in our Police Department during a period of major growth and transition in our city,” said City Manager Mike Legg. “I could not be prouder of Woody and his dedicated service to our community for nearly four decades. His presence will certainly be missed but I am also very happy for him. His retirement is well deserved.”

Chavis said the department has a reputation for professionalism, hiring good people, doing things right, never compromising values and being accountable after making mistakes.

“And I am most proud of this reputation. It is who we are as a police organization. We are a family who serves the families of Kannapolis,” Chavis said.

Chavis said it will be hard to walk away from policing, but “it’s time for me to retire, play more golf and have time with my family.”

Temporarily taking the reins of the department following Chavis’ retirement, Spry is a graduate of South Rowan High School. He earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice technology from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. He also holds an Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate from the N.C. Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission.

He is married to Meredith, and they have one son, Kaleb. They attend Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church.