Staff Spotlight: Chief Jim Terry

Heather Barker, Copy Editor

Editor’s note: Jim Terry, 54, is the director of public safety at Marshall University. In that position, he is also chief of the campus police department, where he has been working for 28 years. He graduated from Marshall University in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and also earned his master’s degree in criminal justice from Marshall. The Parthenon recently interviewed Terry using a style borrowed from the Marcel Proust/Vanity Fair magazine format, which is designed to reveal the personal side of newsmakers.

Q: What is your most marked characteristic?

A: I don’t know. We’ll come back to that one… I’m a pretty good crisis manager, so that means I’m a decision maker. Right, wrong or indifferent, I’ll make a decision.

Q: What is the quality you most like in a man?

A: Honesty.

Q: What is the quality you most like in a woman?

A: Well, honesty again.

Q: What do you most value in your friends?

A: Friendship, no, the comradery.

Q: What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

A: My temper.

Q: What is your favorite occupation?

A: Well, I guess law enforcement, since that’s what I do.

Q: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A: I don’t know… That is so tough. I don’t know. I always figured I’d want a little A-frame up on a mountain away from everybody else and have my food dropped in to me, but that’s more of a survivalist mentality than anything else. I always told people, “If I ever won the lottery, man, I’m just gonna go somewhere and buy me a mountain, no roads or nothing. Just put the compound on top of it, my little A-frame, and I’m done.”

Q: What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

A: Death. Death of a friend, I guess.

Q: In which country would you like to live?

A: Well, right here.

Q: Who are your favorite writers?

A: I gotta bunch. Lustbader. Clancy, of course. Everybody loves Clancy. But, you know, it’s evolved over the years. Stephen Hunter. All right, we’ll stop there. That’s enough.

Q: Who are your favorite poets?

A: I don’t have a favorite poet.

Q: Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

A: Fiction, Bob Lee Swagger’s up there, but Rooster Cogburn. Let’s really throw them off.

Q: Who is your favorite heroine of fiction?

A: That’s a tough one. I like Agatha Christie stuff, but that’s not a heroine, that’s who wrote the books. Ooh, could say Sigourney Weaver in “Alien.” She’s a badass.

Q: Who are your favorite composers?

A: I like Bach. You’d never thought that, would you? I have my classical music CDs in the truck.

Q: Who are your favorite painters?

A: I like Van Gogh stuff and then the dude that does the Ducks Unlimited stuff, but I can’t remember his name.

Q: What are your favorite names?

A: You know, I always liked Levi and Elijah.

Q: What is it that you most dislike?

A: This moment in time in history, I hate liars.

Q: Which talent would you most like to have?

A: I’d like to play a musical instrument. I tried guitar. It didn’t work out. I’m not inclined.

Q: How would you like to die?

A: How about I don’t want to? I would like to quick.

Q: What is your current state of mind?

A: I’m right up there. I’m good.

Q: What is your motto?

A: What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

Heather Barker can be contacted at [email protected]