Former Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheek hugs Jackie Rouse, the mother of slain DCP Lt. Cliff Rouse, after unveiling the plaque hung in his honor in front of DCP headquarters on Habersham Road Monday afternoon.
ALBANY, Ga. -- Local police permanently commemorated the lives of two fallen officers Monday in separate ceremonies.
Dougherty County Police Lt. Cliff Rouse and Albany Police Officer Terry Lewis Flemming were each honored with the hanging of permanent plaques commemorating their service to the community and their personal sacrifices to safeguard the public.
Rouse, who was killed while attempting to arrest a robbery suspect on Dec. 23, 2010, was remembered Monday as a dedicated public servant as well as a loving, caring
Former Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheek called Rouse a model officer whose memory never will be forgotten, a fact assured with the placement of the plaque with Rouse’s likeness engraved on it near the main entrance to the DCP headquarters.
“The first thing people who come into the office will see is going to be Cliff Rouse,” Cheek said. “It doesn’t matter whether they’re family, citizens, victims, suspects, defendants, police officers — the face they’re going to see as they come in that door is Cliff Rouse and they’re all going to know that he gave his life doing what he loved, protecting and serving the people of Dougherty County Georgia.
“The other thing: He’ll be watching over them when they go back out that door. Every officer that walks out to get in one of those patrol units, or those unmarked units, to go out and work in this county, he’s going to be looking over you as you go out that door.”
The Albany Police Department recognized Flemming Monday in two separate ceremonies, the first to dedicate the muster room of the Law Enforcement Center on Washington Street in Flemming’s honor. Flemming died Oct. 28, 2011, when her patrol car collided with another police unit during the pursuit of armed robbery suspects.
The muster room is where the officers come together at the beginning of their shifts for information, uniform checks, policy and procedures, said Phyllis Banks, spokeswoman for the APD. According to Police Chief John Proctor the idea to dedicate the room to Flemming and to place a permanent plaque there in her memory came from city officers.
“It came from the ground level,” Proctor said, “and when they came to me about it, I said, ‘Absolutely.’ ”
Proctor said the dedication allowed officers to begin to accept and deal with the grief of Flemming’s passing.
“I think this memorial sets in place something that will forever mark her connection with the police department and with this community,” Proctor said. “Losing an officer is a very difficult thing. Losing someone you know and have spent time with, who has made an indelible mark on the lives of the community and this building, will never be forgotten. With this plaque is some small reminder of who Terry was.”
From the muster room, the throng of officers proceeded to the lobby of the LEC and to the APD Museum, where a portrait of Flemming and another plaque were mounted. APD Lt. Keithen Hall said he thought it was good that other officers would have the opportunity to view plaques in both locations.
“We have to tell these young officers, to make them understand, it’s rough out there,” Hall said. “You may not get back home. But you put your life on the line for the community. You make sure they’re safe.”
The Rouse memorial was bought and paid for with proceeds generated by a memorial motorcycle ride. The proceeds from the ride, which was started by friends and colleagues of Rouse, have topped $18,000 and have gone partially to law enforcement charity fund to help families who have lost police officers in the line of duty and partially to fund the plaque.
Rouse’s mother thanked what she called the DCP family for its support following the death of her son and urged those in attendance to value the moments they have with their loved ones and not take them for granted.
“We will never forget what you’ve done for us and what you mean to us,” Jackie Rouse said. “Life has to go on after death, you aren’t meant to bury your children, but I’ve prayed and prayed to God and his answer has been clear: ‘My grace is enough to sustain you.’”