Three honored by DCP

ALBANY -- Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheek showed off the best of the best that DCP has to offer during Monday's Dougherty County Commission meeting.

Recognizing his officer and employee of the year and his top gun award recipient, Cheek lauded the accomplishments of some of his finest employees.

Cpl. Bob James, who has been the man behind developing the DCP's K-9 program, was the first honoree. A dog handler who works with "Goliath," James has been at the forefront of developing the new program and ensuring its success, Cheek said.

"He's one of the steadiest officers we have," the chief said. "He's dependable and smart and has really done an amazing job with these animals."

Cheek pointed to an incident on the Liberty Expressway last year when a man suspected of possessing drugs was confronted by agents with the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit. The suspect was killed during a pursuit, but Goliath was able to find the gun believed used in the incident in the median of the expressway.

"I appreciate my chief and the opportunity you've given me to bring dogs to Albany," James said. "They are not vicious but highly trained animals."

Dispatcher and clerk Jackie Dukes was tapped by Cheek as the department's employee of the year.

In her sixth and final year at DCP, Dukes is a past recipient of the award.

Cheek said Monday that Dukes plays a vital role in working with the community and making sure that the public's perception of the department is strong.

"It goes a long way to increasing the perception of the department from the public to have someone like Jackie as the first face or voice they come in contact with when they come to the office," Cheek said.

Dukes is leaving the DCP this week to take a job with a federal bankruptcy court in Atlanta.

In what has been a recurring moment over the last two years, Cheek reintroduced the commission to officer Clayton Bryant, who edged out his colleagues to claim the top gun award as the best shot on the Dougherty force.

"He's definitely the one out there that I want if I ever need backup," Cheek joked.

A member of the county's multijurisdictional SWAT team, Bryant currently is on assignment with the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit.

"I really enjoy it, and between training at the department, training for SWAT and just my own training at home, shooting is something I just enjoy," Bryant said. "I appreciate the consideration from the chief."