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Matthews police captain set to retire

By Elisabeth Arriero
earriero@charlotteobserver.com

For nearly three decades, police Capt. Garland Amos has been a recognizable face in the town of Matthews.

He’s helped organize the parade routes for Matthews Alive, managed school resource officers and worked as an off-duty officer at Butler High School games.

After 29 years on the force, Amos, 67, is retiring and moving to part-time at the department.

“I’ve got to get my head wrapped around it still,” said Amos just before heading to the Butler High School graduation June 12.

Patty Amos, his wife of 33 years, first met Amos in 1978 when she went to work at High Point Police Department. As a detective there, he trained her how to work crime scenes.

“He has always wanted to be a police officer,” she said. “He’s living the dream.”

When he graduated from high school in High Point, Amos took a job at a Winn Dixie Store, moving up the ranks to become a store manager.

But he never forgot his dream of becoming a police officer.

“Every Friday, the High Point police chief would come to the grocery store and we would talk and he would offer me a job. Finally, one day I decided to quit my job and try it out,” said Amos in an email released by the town.

He went to work in 1972 as a patrol officer, and over the years he moved into investigations, where he became proficient at conducting polygraph tests.

Amos worked as a detective until 1980, when he left the High Point Police Department to join a private firm in Charlotte conducting commercial polygraph tests.

In 1992, Amos decided to return to work as a patrol officer, joining the Matthews Police Department. He was promoted to sergeant in 1995 and Captain of Patrol in 1997. Then, in 2005, he was promoted to Captain of Support Services.

In that role, Amos oversees the 911 dispatchers, animal control, officer training, vehicle maintenance and school resource officers.

Patty Amos recalls working one case with Amos after a murder-suicide in Matthews. Amos was the first on the scene, she said.

“He doesn’t back down,” said Patty Amos, who is retired from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. “He figures, if it’s your time, it’s your time. He’s not afraid.”

But after two heart attacks, Garland Amos’ doctor suggested he slow down, which comes hard for Amos. “He just loves to work,” said Patty Amos.

Matthews DARE Officer Karen Greene said that over the 19 years she’s known Amos, he has become more than a boss to her – he’s a “second daddy to me.”

“He’s a big comfort to all of us,” Greene said. “He was there to support me through all of my struggles. I have a very fond place in my heart for him.”

Patty Amos described her husband as someone with deep faith who wakes at 4 a.m. each morning to do devotions. The Concord resident is also active at his church, Concord First Assembly.

“He never walks out of that police station without telling the people, ‘Thank you for what you do every day,’ ” said Patty Amos. “He’s a kind-hearted, good Christian man.”

Amos has spent the last several years trading badges with police from other jurisdictions across the country and even across the Atlantic. Patty Amos said her husband has more than 1,000 badges and at least one bobby hat from England. He also has tribal patches from various Native American tribes.

Amos reached another personal goal when he received his associate’s degree in criminal justice at age 65.

After taking some time off, Amos plans to work part-time as a 911 dispatcher. He also plans to go back to school for biblical studies.

But he also said he will miss working full-time.

Arriero: 704-804-2637; On Twitter: @earriero
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