By Tom Donaldson
Atlantic News, Thursday, June 25, 1996
[Atlantic News Photo by Tom Donaldson]
Captain Thomas R. ("Tommy") Lyons has made it official: he is retiring June 30 after a total of 30 years on the Hampton Police Force. Lyons, 51, has recently told Chief William Wrenn and his fellow officers that he had submitted his retirement papers but everyone felt - and hoped - he would change his mind.
Captain Lyons joined the Hampton Police Department in 1967 on a part time basis while he taught school. In 1980 he was appointed a full-time officer. Three years later, Chief Robert Mark asked him to take over the prosecuting department "for a couple of years." He has been there ever since, until January of this year when he was promoted to Captain and asked by Chief Wrenn to be second in command of the department.
Chief Wrenn spoke warmly about his captain several weeks ago when Lyons announced his intention of retiring. He said that he had hoped Lyons would stay on, but wished him well in whatever he decided to do. "Lyons was a very good officer and a stabilizing influence on what has been a difficult transition and reorganization of the department," said Chief Wrenn.
Everything Lyons said in a recent interview was in a positive vein. He loved his job as a prosecutor and praised Judge Fraiser and the court staff for their fairness and handling of many difficult situations. "I only wish I had won a few more cases from him (Fraiser), he Joked. "I enjoyed my captaincy and would have like to have stayed longer, but my wife and I talked it over extensively and decided it was the right time," Lyons said concluding, "Chief Wrenn puts in 80 to 90 hours a week and has been 110%supportive of me."
Often, young (51 is young) officers retire from active police work to take another job in security or detective work. Lyons, however, plans to "retire" and spend a lot of time on his 41-foot lobster boat. "I have a few traps and do a lot of fishing and plan to continue that for the time being," he said.
The captain feels that the vacant position will be filled within a reasonable time and probable from within the department, as( in his opinion) it should be. He spoke with high regard for every man and woman on the force. "It is a good place to work," he explained. "We are well paid and have everything we need in the way of cars and up-to-date equipment."
He reminisced fondly about the many people that he has seen come and go over thirty years and admitted that he will probably never get police work "out of my blood." No one would expect anything less from "Tommy" Lyons. When asked, everyone replied that he will be greatly missed. Isn't that a nice way to end a long career?