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FAMILY'S ARRESTS SHOCK FRIENDS

FAMILY'S ARRESTS SHOCK FRIENDS

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Detective Sgt. Herman Pyron Sr. of the Reidsville Police Department is known to friends and co-workers as a hard-working officer dedicated to fighting drugs.

The 10-year veteran, headed the department's drug investigation division and was entrusted with the Drug Alcohol Resistence Education program in Reidsville's schools, a program that teaches children about the dangers of drugs.Those same friends are now shocked about the indictment earlier this month of Pyron's wife and son on drug-related charges. The son is accused of using drugs that were evidence in a case, drugs that his father is suspected of having taken home in violation of departmental procedures.

District Attorney Thurman Hampton has had a State Bureau of Investigations report on his desk for at least two weeks, but said Friday that he had not decided whether to bring charges against Herman Pyron Sr.

Herman Pyron Jr. faces charges of destroying evidence and possession of controlled substances, and Kathy Dalton Pyron is charged with destroying evidence.

The charges against the Pyrons stem from the SBI investigation that began in October when the younger Pyron was suspected of swallowed eight to 10 narcotic pills, according to an indictment.

Hampton, Reidsville Police Chief James Festerman and SBI Chief Investigator Bill Dowdy refused to discuss how or why Herman Pyron Sr. would have had the evidence at his home.

Efforts to reach the Pyrons and their attorney, Ben Wrenn of Reidsville, were unsuccessful last week.

Teachers at Moss Street Elementary School sent a note and balloons to Pyron to show their support for him. Several sent cards.

``He liked having lunch with the kids, going to gym with the kids and playing in the playground with them,' fifth-grade teacher Jo Kennedy said. ``It gave them a different look at a police officer. He wanted them to feel free to talk to police officers.'

``It's been very upsetting because the teachers who work with him regard him as a faculty member,' teacher Gay Citty said. ``The students had a lot of questions and wanted to know if he was coming back. I told them to hope for the best and keep him in their hearts.'

School officials at Rockingham County High School rushed Herman Pyron Jr. to Annie Penn Memorial Hospital Oct. 20 after he ingested some pills. He was treated at the hospital and released, but the school notified the Sheriff's Department about the incident.

An indictment alleges that the younger Pyron had a bottle with more than 30 narcotic pills and capsules in his possession at the time he was taken to the hospital.

The Sheriff's Department turned its report over to Hampton, who, along with Festerman, asked the SBI to investigate.

The investigation alleges Pyron Jr. took the pills from his father and that Kathy Pyron destroyed other drug evidence at the family's home after the Sheriff's Department allegedly found her son in possession of drugs.

The indictment charges Kathy Pyron with destroying 33 grams of marijuana, 55 assorted tablets and capsules, white powder residue and a straw containing a white powder residue, all of which was being preserved as evidence. Officers won't say whether the powder was cocaine.

SBI agents arrested Kathy Pyron and Herman Pyron Jr. Jan. 11 in connection with the indictment. Each was released on $500 unsecured bond.

Hampton said the Pyrons are scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 9.

With investigators refusing to comment on the case, the main unanswered question is this: Why would Herman Pyron Sr., known as a dedicated foe of illegal drugs, have evidence in a drug case at his home?

Festerman said the drugs were evidence in a case involving an arrest made more than a year ago. Festerman said he thought the case had been disposed of in court. Neither Festerman nor Hampton would identify the case.

Festerman said normal procedure requires that drugs used as evidence be destroyed by the office of the Clerk of Superior Court.

Rockingham Clerk of Court Frankie Williams said her office destroys drugs introduced into evidence when ordered to do so by a judge. She said the drugs involved in the Pyron family case were never sent to her office for destruction.

In Pyron's case, however, what authorities term ``extenuating circumstances' - but refused to elaborate on - may have led the officer to have the drugs at home.

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