Reward checks handed out in Harvey shooting

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY -- When a fellow officer is shot, the Albany Police Department closes ranks to seek justice for one of its own.

In the case of the June 2008 shooting of Officer Tim Harvey, community members closed ranks with the police.

Police officials paid out $3,020 Friday to be split between two anonymous tipsters who gave information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter.

Members of the community donated the money for the reward.

"I knew him (Harvey) from him patrolling near my business," said Fred Brooks, 54, owner of Five Points Laundromat at 2225 East Broad Ave., who donated $1,000 to the reward fund.

"He is a good cop. He is the kind of cop who would go chasing through the bushes after a guy," Brooks added. "He was always out there patrolling in the middle of the night. I wanted to do something for him."

The other three doners, who gave the rest of the reward money, remained anonymous. The tipsters also remained anonymous.

Acting on the tips, police arrested Albany resident Johnny E. Hill Jr. for the shooting. District Attorney Greg Edwards accepted a plea that put Hill in prison for 30 years minimum, 40 years maximum.

One person's $20 donation to the reward fund might seem minimal, but it was as appreciated as the three $1,000 donations, said APD spokeswoman Phyllis Banks. It meant another person cared enough to contribute what they could to the crime's investigation.

Called to a dark alley near Eighth Avenue on a suspicious-person investigation, Harvey was shot in the abdomen as he pursued Hill fleeing the scene.

Hill pleaded guilty to aggravated assault on a police officer, participation in a street gang and marijuana possession with intent to distribute on Jan. 15.

Speaking at a 2 p.m. press conference in the Law Enforcement Center on Oglethorpe Boulevard, Police Chief John Proctor emphasized the dangers in police work and the need for continued support from the community.

"Typically, we in law enforcement run to the battle. We don't have the choice of running away. Officer Harvey did what he had to do," Proctor said. "It does our heart proud that there are people in the community willing to stand beside us shoulder to shoulder as we do this job."

At the end of the press conference, Harvey and Brooks shook hands and hugged.

"I would like to thank everyone who worked on this case so diligently. I want to thank them (the tipsters) because without them it would be more difficult to catch this guy. Every day we need more tips. We can't always do it ourselves; we need the community to help us out," Harvey said.

"When someone I deal with as a law enforcement officer, not necessarily in my daily life, steps forward to take money out of their own pocket to help me out, it shows how much people really care."