By Charlotte Smith
On Friday, August 30th, there was a retirement ceremony held honoring Major Larry Guyton’s service to Bladen County Sheriff’s Office.
Retired Sheriff, Steve Bunn gave a synopsis of Major Guyton’s roles in the county saying, “There has been a lot of water over the dam… When I met Larry he was “Clark Kent”… reporter at the Bladen Journal in the late 70’s early 80’s … he worked his way up to Editor, and then he wanted to come to work at the Sheriff’s Office.”
Major Guyton’s law enforcement career began on July 5, 1987 with the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office. He graduated from Basic Law Enforcement Training at North Carolina Justice Academy, earned an Associates Degree in Law Enforcement Technology from Bladen Community College, a Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Mount Olive College and a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Cincinnati.
On November 20, 1987, Mr. Guyton started as a Patrol Deputy before being promoted to a uniform Patrol Sergeant three years later. Two years after that, he was promoted to a criminal Investigator, then he made his way to Lieutenant of the Criminal Investigator Division. In 1999, Mr. Guyton took a leave of absence for one year to serve with the United Nation’s Police Mission in Kosovo.
In 2002 he was made a Special Deputy United States Marshal and assigned as a Task Force Officer with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. He remained serving as the Special Deputy until 2008 when he took a position as a full time Task Force Officer with a Project Safe Neighborhood Grant covering Bladen and Columbus counties.
Mr. Guyton served with the University of North Carolina in Wilmington, in 2011 coordinating service trainings and assisting with background investigations. Since 2014, he has been second in command at the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office serving as Chief Deputy to Sheriff James A. McVicker and retired his position on September 1st with 32 years of law enforcement service under his belt.
Over the years he has also served his community by holding elected positions, offering concealed carry training classes and giving to needy children with the Bladen County Law Enforcement Association. He is a life-long member of the Carvers Creek United Methodist Church and is married to his wife, Judy of 30 years. He has one daughter, one son-in-law and one grandchild.
The retirement ceremony for Major Guyton was held in Elizabethtown at the Sheriff’s Office. The room was filled with his family, co-workers, and friends wishing to honor Major Guyton for his many years of service.
Several men stood testifying to Major Guyton wisdom, knowledge, dedication, and loyalty.
Sheriff Jim McVicker told a story about how Mr. Guyton had made an unforgettable impression on him many years ago.
Sheriff McVicker explained, Mr. Guyton had only been a deputy a few years and had a video camera in his car. “This is how far in advance Larry thinks,” McVicker said.
He continued, “We had an officer involved shooting… I see this deputy walking around with a video camera interviewing people… interviewing witnesses and that became one of the most vital pieces of evidences in the case of that officer involved shooting.”
“He saved the day by thinking ahead,” Sheriff McVicker added. “He means a lot to me. I am going to miss him and we all will.” Sheriff McVicker went on to give examples of Major Guyton’s wisdom and loyalty.
Assistant District Attorney Quintin McGee acknowledged the partnership between the Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s office giving credit to Major Guyton for it’s success.
“We are going to miss you and we will never know the amount of things Larry does here. We are going to be losing a wealth of knowledge and experience,” Mr. McGee said.
Some stood and made remarks such as, “He will always have your 6 ‘o clock,” and “He is just an exceptional person, a remarkable human being.”
Others stood and thanked Major Guyton for the invaluable lessons he taught them during their law enforcement trainings. There were several gifts, plaques and awards given to Major Guyton as well.
Investigator Rodney Warwick presented a 10-42 Portrait by local artist Mrs. Kathy Bunn as a gift on behalf of the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office. First Sergeant Richard Allen presented an identification badge and a plaque. Major Jeff Singletary presented a firearm to Major Guyton.
North Carolina House Representative, Mr. William Brisson presented the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. The award was presented to Major Guyton on behalf of Governor Roy Cooper for his significant contributions to the state and county for his exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments.
Major Guyton took the podium with humble gratitude. He thanked everyone in attendance and acknowledged his wife, other family members, friends and co-workers.
He took the spotlight off of himself and shined it on those in attendance and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Before closing he asked all in attendance for a moment of silence after he named all of Bladen County’s fallen law enforcement officers.
Major Guyton will come back to the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office after 30 days to offer trainings, according to Sheriff McVicker.