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Posted: December 31, 2013 5:00 p.m.

CPD names its 2013 employees of the year

Danielle Everson /The Covington News/

Lerea Neely

Three employees with the Covington Police Department were recognized by their colleagues for their hard work during 2013 and throughout the years.

The employee of the year was voted on by CPD employees in three divisions—support services, patrol, and the administration/criminal investigation division.

Sgt. Chuck Groover with Support Services, Officer Anthony Walden in the Patrol Division and administrative assistant Lerea Neely were named CPD’s three employees of the year. The announcement was made at the Police Department’s annual banquet and awards ceremony, which was held Dec. 5.

Each of the three employees shared their experiences with the Covington Police Department and how it felt to be recognized by peers for their accomplishments.

Sgt. Chuck Groover

Sgt. Groover has been in law enforcement for more than 40 years. He worked with the Macon Police Department for 28 years before retiring. He then joined the Covington Police Department, where he has been for the last 12 years.

Sgt. Groover is over CPD’s accreditation and certification. He is responsible for making sure the

Covington Police Department is re-accredited every three years.  He writes policies and procedures, oversees training and career development and heads support services.

In addition to his duties at the department, Sgt. Groover is also an assessor for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, where he goes around the United States conducting assessments of other agencies.

The Covington Police Department was first accredited in 1985 and was the first agency in Georgia to be accredited and the tenth in the nation. Of those 10 departments originally accredited, there are only four left and Covington is one of them, Sgt. Groover said, "It’s a big deal here." The city of Covington’s police, fire, 911 and public works departments are all accredited agencies, which Sgt. Groover said was one of the few agencies to have four departments accredited.

"There are 484 law enforcement standards that deal with every facet of law enforcement. What we’ve done, and what we try to do on a continuing basis, is we write our policies and procedures to meet those standards and the officers are trained to meet those standards when they do their job," Sgt. Groover said of his duties.

He said it was very humbling to be named one of the three employees of the year. "We must’ve been doing something right or otherwise, the other employees wouldn’t have voted for us," he said.

Officer Anthony Walden

Officer Walden has been with CPD for 15 years working in the patrol division. He has been a member of the SWAT team and is currently CPD’s Range Master and firearms instructor, a position he took over this year after CPD’s former Range Master retired.

Sgt. Groover noted that the department has hired several younger officers in the last three years and Officer Walden has led as a field training officer. "He helps train the young officers when they get out of the academy and they go out on the road,"Sgt. Groover said. 

"It’s like anything else you know; there are 10 different ways to do anything. But what we’re looking for is people who can do it and do it professionally and use some common sense,  get out there and just apply what they have learned," Walden said about his responsibilities.

Walden said he believed the firearms staff has had a pretty good transition and a good training year, which has led him to become this years’ employee of the year for his division.

"Just being out here every day and dealing with everything from children to anybody in the neighborhood I can ride and talk to, I get a kick out of it," Officer Walden said. "Anything dealing with being a police officer is fun. To me, it’s fun. It’s like I get to dress up to go to work and play."

Lerea Neely

Lerea Neely is an administrative assistant for the department. She has worked with the police department since 2010, working first as a transcriber and then moving to the administration department as the administrative assistant to Chief Stacey Cotton.

Neely has a wide range of duties as CPD’s administrative assistant. Some of those include working in accounts payable; keeping books for four different accounts; scheduling classes and training; planning events and functions for the department; and keeping up with Chief Cotton’s appointments.

Neely said she enjoys working at the department because of the day-to-day excitement on the job.

"It’s never boring and it’s a family atmosphere here. Everyone really cares about one another," she said.

She said it’s an honor to be named employee of the year, as so many other employees were well deserving of the award in her department.

"It was very nice to be recognized by the people you work with," Neely said.

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