Humbled and appreciative are the first words Wharton Police Chief Terry D. Lynch used as he reflected on his initial emotions once learning he was voted Wharton County’s Best Peace Officer.
The Wharton Journal-Spectator and the El Campo Leader-News held their first collaborative “Wharton County’s Best Of” competition this year. Nominations and voting were held from March through June. At the close of voting nearly 40,000 ballots were cast, deciding which business and/or individual were best in each category.
Lynch was deemed the Best Peace Officer of the county with Wharton County Sheriff Shannon Srubar and Jeff Pfeil, with the El Campo Police Department, coming in second and third, respectively. After reading the other deserving names on the ballot, Lynch said, “I was just proud to have my name associated with all those names of other very respectable officers in the county.” Modestly Lynch continued. “I’m the guy that likes the attention on my department, not directly on me.”
Lynch moved to Wharton in 1978 and graduated from Wharton High School in 1983. His law enforcement career began once he completed the Wharton County Junior College (WCJC) Police Academy in 1989, after a four-year service in the United States Air Force. Following a brief time with the Wharton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO), Lynch joined Wharton PD and served the city for 17 years.
“I had great mentors like Sheriff Jess Howell and Chief Tim Guin and so many more,” Lynch said. “They sparked the desire for earning the confidence of the community and embedded strife to earn that confidence every single day.”
That spark led Lynch to become WCJC Police Academy director and to prepare the men and women enrolled in the academy for their careers in law enforcement. During his tenure at WCJC, he received a BA of Applied Science in Criminal Justice from Midwestern State University, attended the FBI National Academy, graduated the FBI Command College and successfully completed FBI-LEEDA’s Supervisor Leadership Institute, Command Leadership Institute and Executive Leadership Institute. Lynch became one of the few to be awarded the FBI-LEEDA Trilogy Award. He also served on the Wharton City Council from 2009 to 2014.
Lynch applied for the position as Wharton PD’s Chief of Police after Chief Guin retired from the department. The City of Wharton appointed him as Chief of Police five months later in May 2019. Since being appointed, Lynch felt the need to guide the department toward a transparent, community-involved department.
This can be seen through WPD’s presence on Facebook.
“I have a devout love for our profession and very proud of what we, as a department, have been able to accomplish by reaching out to the community that we serve,” Lynch said. “We, once again as a department, have been able to regain trust and dependence of our community, at a time when it’s very hard to do so.”
Lynch credits having been named best peace officer by Wharton County to his strong family ties developed through his years in Wharton.
“I feel it 100 percent possible to be a peace officer enforcing the law while maintaining the love and compassion for my fellow man,” he said. “I know many family lineages here and have a really strong tie to the community.”
When asked what he would like to say to each of the voters who cast that ballot in his favor, Lynch said, “I deeply appreciate the confidence in my ability to protect and serve and I hope to never let any of you down.
He continued: “I’m proud of my hometown and the county that my wife grew up in, my children attended schools in and where I have wholeheartedly chosen to stay to live and work. I will strive to uphold the confidence that the community has in me each and every day. Thank you, Wharton County.”
The 2019 Best of Wharton County was published in July 2019. The top three businesses and individuals, like Lynch, are listed by category in the magazine. This magazine can be picked up at many shops and offices throughout the county and on www.journal-spectator.com.