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Hero Down: Madison County Deputy Terry ‘Bear’ Dyer Dies After Collapsing In Court

Jackson, TN – Madison County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Deputy Terry “Bear” Dyer died in the line of duty on April 20 after collapsing inside the General Sessions Courtroom.

The 62-year-old deputy was testifying in connection with a criminal case when the medical emergency struck, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Deputy Dyer collapsed and became unresponsive, at which point CPR was administered, WNWS reported.

He was rushed to Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Deputy Dyer had suffered a heart attack, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

He would have celebrated his 63rd birthday on April 25, which ended up being the day of his funeral, according to his obituary.

The U.S. Army veteran began his law enforcement career in July of 1986, when he joined the Lexington Police Department (LPD), according to the Jackson Sun.

He spent a majority of his time at LPD working in the Metro Narcotics unit.

“He was often undercover, trying to turn lives around,” Madison County Sheriff John Mehr said, according to the Jackson Sun. “You would be surprised how many people came back to see him after he turned their lives around.”

Deputy Dyer served the Jackson Police Department (JPD) from August of 1990 until August of 2015, when he went to work for Community Corrections.

Sheriff Mehr hired him at the MCSO over three years ago, the Jackson Sun reported.

“Terry changed lots of lives,” the sheriff said. “He had a heart of gold. I don’t know how many people have told me what he’s done for others.”

JPD Major Philip Kemper spoke about the fallen deputy’s love for his fellow officers during the funeral service on April 25, the Jackson Sun reported.

“Everybody was a friend of Terry, and his co-workers were part of his family,” Maj. Kemper said. “If you wore the uniform, he was with you. He was going to treat you the best, and he was going to teach you the most. He wanted you to be successful.”

“He came to work every day to make a difference. He put that uniform on. He was trying to make the community a better place,” the major continued. “He was a sheepdog of all sheepdogs because he was looking for the wolves that would prey on people.”

Deputy Dyer leaves behind his daughter, Emma, and his two grandchildren, according to his obituary.

He is also survived by his daughter’s mother and his seven siblings.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Madison County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Terry “Bear” Dyer, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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