Micheal Terns Nolensville Police Assistant Chief

As the Town of Nolensville continues to thrive, Assistant Police Chief Michael Terns is more proud and committed to his constituents. For him, the most important thing about his work is that the citizens feel safer and build confidence and trust in the police. 

Terns, who’s been a public figure for over 20 years, shares his journey into law enforcement.

Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Mich., Terns is the youngest of three children. Tragedy struck his family twice when his brother and sister were killed in separate events. Terns’s brother was killed by a drunk driver in 1983, and his sister was killed in 1998 by a man who robbed a gas station. 

“The police officers who investigated these incidents did an excellent job of locating and arresting the suspects and taking care of my family,” he said. “These events and my discovery of the Police Explorer program helped form my interest in law enforcement.” 

He stayed with the Explorer program throughout high school and his early days in college. Terns did well in college, but he was working full-time and supporting himself. He did not want to go into debt trying to complete college. So in 1996, he joined the United States Marine Corps.  

“I wanted to serve my country, but I also wanted to challenge myself. I knew this was a way to help me pay for college,” he said. “While in the Marine Corps, I was chosen to participate in a program called Yankee White. I was given a top-secret clearance and assigned to the presidential protection detail at the presidential retreat Camp David.”

Terns earned many achievements throughout his career in the Marines. He 

attend the prestigious Non-Commissioned Officer Academy in Camp Lejeune, where he graduated as the honor graduate at the top of his class. 

When he separated from the Marine Corps in 2000, he was hired by Spring Hill Police Department. Later that year, Terns attended the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy. 

“Because of my background, I was given the responsibility of being the class leader for my training class. At graduation from the academy, I was honored with a leadership award by the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police (TACP),” he said. “This award is highly coveted and is only given to one graduate of each training class.” 

In 2002, he joined the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office. The U.S. State Department recruited Terns to serve overseas as an international police advisor in 2008, and in 2009, he returned to the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office. In 2017, Nolensville Police Department hired Terns to assist with restructuring the department. 

In 2018, while working at the Nolensville Police Department, Terns earned his Bachelor of Science from Bethel University. He graduated with honors, sustaining a 4.0 grade point average. 

Terns has been married to Leigh Terns since 1999. She is a lifelong resident of Williamson County. The couple has a son who is currently working on his master Mechanic Certification with Toyota. 

Terns is a music lover. In July 1992, he was part of a group that won an international singing competition in Vienna, Austria.

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