Durham, N.C. — The Durham County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday announced the death of retired Sheriff Roland W. Leary, who was the county’s sheriff from 1982 to 1992. He was 83.

“Sheriff Leary is a man whom I admired a great deal,” Sheriff Mike Andrews said in a statement. “As a young deputy, his leadership inspired me and kept me motivated. His life outside the Sheriff’s Office was also a testament to his integrity, strength and unshakeable faith.”

Leary, a Durham native, attended Oak Grove High School and later served in the Korean War.

His law enforcement career began with the Durham County Alcohol Beverage Control, where he was promoted to chief in 1974.
Leary created the sheriff’s office Search and Recovery Team (SRT), a highly trained deep diving unit which continues to respond to emergency incidents throughout North Carolina today.

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