Deputies honored for bravery, selflessness

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

ALBANY, Ga. -- Two employees of the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office were recognized by the Sheriff for their selfless acts of bravery.

Detention Officer Garry Harris and Deputy Cpl. Tommy Bruce were each praised by both Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul and the Dougherty County Commission Monday as their respective department's employee of the year for 2010.

Harris, according to Sproul, was with Deputy Lekeisha Fleming at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital escorting a county prisoner to receive medical treatment when the detainee tried to escape.

Harris' quick thinking, according to Sproul, allowed him to pounce on the suspect before he was able to seriously injure Fleming, who had been pushed against a wall and knocked unconscious.

"Thank you," was the only response from Harris as the commission leveled a round of applause his direction.

Bruce is the deputy who first responded to the scene near an East Albany trailer park where Dougherty County Police Lt. Cliff Rouse was fatally shot while attempting to arrest a suspect in the armed robbery of a nearby convenience store, Sproul said.

After rendering initial aid and comfort to Rouse while waiting for an ambulance, Bruce joined the manhunt for the suspect, later identified as Dontravious Thomas, and found Thomas hiding under an abandoned mobile home.

At gunpoint, Bruce talked Thomas out from under the home and took him into custody, Sproul said.

In his statement before the commission, Bruce thanked the speedy response of the officers from his and other departments to the scene that night.

Sproul said that the men are just two examples of a department full of people he said he was blessed to work with.

"They lay their life on the line every day. Whether its behind bars in a detention officer's setting, such as at the jail, or out on the road everyday they confront situations that they could have to sacrifice they're life for, " Sproul said. "They deserve this honor."