24 years and 24 days later …
After 24 years and 24 days as a police officer with the Estherville Police Department, Terry Watters’ retirement begins today when he finishes his final shift.
The son of Lowell and the late Bonnie Watters, he graduated from Hartley High School.
He grew up watching “Adam 12,” “Emergency” and “Dragnet.”
“I was interested in them and loved watching these shows,” Watters said.
It was when a friendship developed with a local Hartley police officer that a law enforcement career came into focus. “I eventually went to work part-time in Hartley with on-the-job training.”
This employment was initiated in February 1977. In addition to Watters, there was an assistant chief and chief.
May 1978 brought a new full-time job with the Milford Police Department. “Two weeks after I was hired, the chief quit. I became the acting chief until the new chief and new officer were hired about two months later.”
Six years later, he joined the Estherville Police Department when Robert Knox was the chief of police.
To date, Watters has a total of 31 years of service as a policeman.
“The best times here were when I was the reserve liaison and my involvement with the Citizens’ Academy. It was fun to be with the reserves. I had so much respect for them because they give up their time for no pay. They just want to serve the community. Their commitment is awesome.”
The best part of the job was answered in short order. “Doing what you can to serve and protect. It is important to make people accountable for their actions. I found satisfaction bringing the criminal to justice.”
Watters said he will miss certain aspects of his EPD employment. “It won’t be the doughnuts because I don’t eat those. What I will miss is the people I work with and the camaraderie.”
Watters is also a part-time officer with the Okoboji Police Department.
“It was great being a street officer because I was not trapped in the office all day. Back in the day I really enjoyed walking the beat.”
EPD Chief Eric Milburn congratulated Watters.
“Terry has been a dependable employee who has handled the public relations duties of the police department in an organized and efficient manner. “It will be difficult to replace him in those roles. We wish Terry all the best as he begins a new chapter in his life.”
Watters and his wife Jean are the parents of two daughters, Krissy of Seattle, Wash., and Angie (Jeremy) Simington of Cedar Falls.
Plans for retirement include working on custom woodworking for Kevin Wegner and police work as needed.
He hopes to concentrate on his hobbies, including woodworking, hunting, photography and biking.