Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards presented awards to winning law enforcement officers and managers at an awards “mixer” at Merry Acres Restaurant Wednesday. The event was planned, presented, and the winners selected by the Dougherty County DA’s Office. (Staff Photo: Jim West)
ALBANY — Some of the stars of local law enforcement were honored for their efforts this week by the Dougherty County District Attorney’s Office.
Attendees from city and county agencies including the Albany Police Department, Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office and the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit got a chance to mingle with their fellow officers and with local prosecutors.
“The idea is to do a little something to show our appreciation for law enforcement,” said Gregg Edwards, Dougherty County district attorney. “and it’s something I’ve wanted to do on this scale for a long time. When I get complements about the work the DA’s office is doing, I have to turn around and say that it can only be done through the law enforcement work of the officers in the street and the management of those officers.”
Following an informal dinner at Merry Acres Restaurant on Dawson Road, Edwards called each recipient to the podium to receive awards. There was little fanfare and no formal speaker for the event — just a series of handshakes and applause for jobs well done. Edwards said no public money was used to fund the event.
“Mostly this just a mixer and a Christmas party,” Edwards said, “with the added touch of appreciation for the outstanding work that’s been carried out by officers during the course of the year.”
Major Bill Berry, commander of the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit, said he was surprised to find he’d won law enforcement executive of the year.
“I was shocked,” Berry said. “I was here for a totally different reason. One of my officers was getting officer of the year and I was here to support him.”
His personal win aside, Berry said the awards were a good idea and a long time coming.
“It’s well deserved for the officers who get out here every day and put their lives in danger,” Berry said. “This is something where they can sit back and say ‘somebody appreciates us.’ We see the worst of humanity most of the time and this is something that says ‘thank you for what you do.’”
Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul agreed with Berry.
“While the rest of us are home asleep, these men and women do such an awesome job, and they do it because they want to make this community better and safer. We at the Sheriff’s Office are grateful to Greg and the DA’s office for what they’ve done tonight. I don’t believe (law enforcement) is appreciated enough or put in a proper light often enough.”
Honored with awards were:
— Albany Police Department Uniformed Officer of the Year — Jon Seagroves
— Albany Police Department Detective of the Year — Bryant Leverett
— Dougherty County Uniformed Officer of the Year — Reggie French
— Dougherty County Detective of the Year — Chad Kirkpatrick
— Sheriff’s Office Division 38 — Deputy of the Year — Shirley Adams
— Sheriff’s Office Division 62 Deputy of the Year — Rick Windham
— State Agency Agent of the Year — Stripling Luke
— Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit/Gang Task Force Agent of the Year — Marc Kjellin
— DA’s Office Investigator of the Year — Makeba Wright
— School/University/College Officer of the Year - Dera Salter
— Probation Officer of the Year — Nick Perry
— Law Enforcement Executive of the Year — Bill Berry
Winners were selected by a 12-member panel of assistant district attorneys, officials say.