ALBANY -- Dougherty County will lose one of its most experienced deputies today as Col. Lee Shiver hangs up his badge and pistol after more than 34 years in law enforcement in Dougherty County.
During a ceremony last week at the Dougherty County Courthouse, Sheriff Kevin Sproul and former sheriff Jamil Saba presented Shiver with mementos of his years with the office and showered the colonel with stories and compliments.
"There is a great friend, a great servant of the community that we're going to say goodbye to today," Sproul said.
"He's been very faithful and has served me as the sheriff and the community very well," Saba said.
Shiver, who got his start in law enforcement in 1967 as an officer with the Leesburg Police Department before working with both the Dougherty County Police and the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office, said that he was honored with the kind words and is grateful for his time with the department.
"I'm not much of a speaker, but I appreciate everyone, all of the men and women in the department who have made me look good over the years," Shiver said.
With Jeanie, his wife of 46 years, and his family looking on, Shiver accepted a shadow box with his rank insignias and badges spanning his career, a plaque and a pistol -- a traditional item of honor for retiring peace officers.
Following the sheriffs' remarks, others in the room from law enforcement, judicial and county circles praised Shiver for his example and leadership during his career.
"Lee is certainly a shining example of those in uniform who give cooperation without question," Chief Judge Willie Lockette said. "The smooth functioning of the court depends on all of us working together."
Tim Hannington, who was just a rookie deputy when Shiver was already at an elevated position within the department, said that Shiver was an example in how to lead.
"There are icons in the department, and I've had the privilege to work with many, but looking at your legacy has helped me develop my own managerial style," Hannington said. "God speed and have a great retirement."
Dougherty County Police Capt. James Sexton quipped that it was Shiver's fault that he got into law enforcement, but that he's been a good friend and mentor.
"Lee is the reason I got into law enforcement; he's the reason I got into this mess," Sexton said. "He is by far one of the best law enforcement officers I've had the pleasure to know."
After just a year at the Leesburg Police Department, Shiver was named chief of the two-man department. In 1974, he became Lee County's only certified EMT, which allowed the county to get its first ambulance.
In 1975, Shiver joined the Dougherty County Police Department, where he worked for the next six years.
In 1981, Shiver became a jailer at the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office. Four years later he was promoted to the investigations division and in 1988 was named chief investigator.
In 1997 he was promoted to the rank of major and became the head of the warrants division.
In 2009, he was promoted to colonel and was responsible for overseeing all operations at the courthouse.