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ALBANY, Ga. -- It isn't often that police officers can sit down, sing (sort of), laugh and accept proper respect all in one hour.
At the 2010 Albany Police Department holiday luncheon Friday ,they could. The annual luncheon provided a "12 Days of Christmas" sing along, fun and food while allowing Chief John Proctor and his officers to honor colleagues who have stood out during the past year.
"Use this time to interact with both family here and at home. There should be some light-hearted times," Proctor said. "I am proud of my officers. With a shortage of manpower and other things you kept going like the Energizer Bunny. You did not stop."
Everyone laughed when Proctor made note of the base vocals sung during the sing along by Officers McKinley Windom and Christopher Hutcherson.
But when he announced that they were recipients of the Commander In Chief Award, the audience listened with respect.
Proctor selects the recipients for the award. He spoke about why these two officers earned it by outlining a tense armed robbery, hostage taking situation that occurred in July at a Family Dollar store.
"The two quickly responded to the business and observed two armed suspect holding an employee at gunpoint," Proctor said. "He (Windom) tried relentlessly to convince the suspect to release the hostage."
A second armed suspect turned and pointed his gun at Windom, Proctor said. Hutcherson, riding as an officer in training with six-year veteran Windom, didn't hesitate.
"Hutcherson alerted Windom and then fired his service weapon striking the suspect," Proctor said. "The heroic acts of Windom and Hutcherson resulted in the arrest of the suspects and confiscating their weapons and the money taken from family Dollar."
After the ceremonies Windom and Hutcherson said they were appreciative of the honors given them.
"People think we are not afraid, but I was nervous and afraid," Windom said. "I'm just glad no one got seriously hurt. We have a job to protect the people."
Hutcherson was in training during the robbery, but he reacted just as his training taught him.
"To protect the people we have to step up to the plate," Hutcherson said. "I love this job."
Two members of Capt. Charlie Poole's bureau received the 2010 Investigations Bureau Award. Detectives Terrance Bryant and Daryl Jones were commended by Proctor because they "perfected a unique system that helped solve more than 80 burglaries and led to the
recovery of almost $65,000 worth of stolen property."
There were 12 other staff members who also received awards and a $25 gift card donated by local restaurants for their dedication and devotion to help fight crime in Albany.