Kindness can go a long way and Bell County Sheriff Chief Deputy Gary Lambdin strives to treat citizens with civility.
“People deserve respect and I really try to treat people the way I want to be treated. That’s something I’ve followed in my career and I think they know that. People see that,” said Lambdin.
Lambdin’s love for law enforcement began when he was in fifth-grade as a crossing guard in Toledo, Ohio. In sixth-grade, Lambdin was chosen as captain of the crossing guard team and was given an award by local police.
“I think that’s when it was embedded in me — law enforcement and safety. I guess it was really with me all along so I pursued it after I got a little bit older,” said Lambdin.
Lambdin’s family moved to Bell County in the 1970s. He graduated from Middlesboro High School in 1982.
Lambdin started his law enforcement career with the Pineville Police Department in 1988. He served as a sergeant for a short while until he was appointed assistant chief. He retired from that position in August 2013.
He came back to law enforcement as a court security officer for former Sheriff Bruce Bennett. Eventually, his lifelong friend Sheriff Mitch Williams chose him to serve as chief deputy of the Bell County Sheriff’s Department.
Because of his many years as part of law enforcement, Lambdin’s list of memorable cases reads like a crime novel. He has been witness to a suicide during a traffic stop and has subdued a man who was shooting at his fellow officers near Pineville School.
Lambdin was held hostage during a kidnapping and used his skills and training to calm the suspect while managing to keep himself and the kidnapee safe.
“It’s safe to say that was pretty nerve-racking, but when there’s another person you’re keeping safe it’s different. It turned from really wanting to get this guy to something more personal,” said Lambdin.
The kidnapper took Lambdin to Bell Central High School which, coincidentally was where Lambdin’s wife worked at the time.
“I’ve had cases with children and the elderly, but you can imagine in 26 years of cases all the things that could happen and have happened. I’ve been blessed to have made it this long and I’m still here with a job I enjoy,” said Lambdin.
Lambdin lives in Pineville and enjoys spending his free time traveling to the beach with his wife, Tina. They have two sons, a daughter and two granddaughters.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardmbdn.