Dougherty County Police Department Capt. Jimmy Sexton plans to make his last exit from DCPD offices as a member of county law enforcement Friday after more than 34 years on the job.
ALBANY -- One law enforcement officer has been around so long and has been so useful that his boss says it is like losing a body part to see him retire.
Dougherty County Police Department Capt. Jimmy Sexton has lived the life of a lawman since he was a U.S. Army Military Police officer in 1968. He retires Friday.
"I spent two tours in Vietnam starting in 1968," Sexton said. "I came home to Albany, but I went to college first. Darton was then Albany Junior College."
After taking courses at Georgia Southwestern State University, he left to work a couple of years as a police officer at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport. He later found his home in 1978 with the Dougherty County Police Department.
"It'll be like losing a body part. We've been friends a long time and worked together a long time, more than 30 years," Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheek said. "He is the most professional peace officer I have ever met. He is always prepared. He is well-versed in many areas. He studied policing and made it a profession, not just a job."
Sexton started his DCPD career as a patrol officer, and after 14 years he skipped over sergeant and was promoted straight to lieutenant.
"He was my lieutenant when I first started 11 years ago," Detective Sergeant Chad Kirkpatrick said. "He helped me out a lot. He made policing child abuse a priority, and I like that."
With the support of Cheek, Sexton took the initiative to bring the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to Dougherty County, a first in Southwest Georgia.
According to the ICAC website gaicac.us, "Internet crimes against children include possession, distribution or manufacturing of child pornography images on a computer or using the Internet to entice children for sexual or indecent purposes."
Kirkpatrick, Sexton and other officers have arrested several Internet predators through the ICAC connection with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and federal authorities.
"I think it is my greatest accomplishment," Sexton said. "I wanted to do something to stop crimes against children."
Sexton's worst memory from his career is probably one shared by all his fellow officers. On Dec. 23, 2010, county police Lt. Cliff Rouse died from gunshot wounds while investigating a convenience store robbery.
Sexton praised Rouse and his dedication to the job. Normally soft-spoken, there was a catch in Sexton's voice as he spoke short sentences about that day.
"I was off. I had to come in," he said. "I helped oversee the investigation. It was just the worst day."
Although he has no regrets about his decision to retire, Sexton did say he would miss his colleagues. He also said he would remain active in the Georgia Sheriff's and Police Intelligence Unit.
"The people in the county really have no idea how dedicated the police are," he said. "They are just ordinary people doing an extraordinary job."
Sexton won't be leaving everyone behind at the station house. He met his wife Cindy while she was an officer, and they have been married more than 30 years. She recently retired from the force.
A recreational vehicle and tour of the country are awaiting the couple.