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Posted: April 10, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Social Circle police win national awards

The Social Circle Police Department took home three awards from the National Interdiction Conference in Nashville on April 2, including 2013 Investigator of the Year.

Sgt. Keith Kendrick was given the award by the National Criminal Enforcement Association (NCEA), an approximately 5,000-member organization that includes federal, state and local law enforcement representatives.

The NCEA was created in memory of Capt. Robbie Bishop, a Villa Rica police officer who was shot and killed during a traffic stop on I-20 on January 20, 1999. Bishop pioneered criminal interdiction in Georgia, and the NCEA has grown from a regionally based to an internationally recognized law enforcement organization.

The basis for the award was taken from information NCEA investigators posted on an internal website throughout the year about their activities, including arrests, drug and gun seizures and geographic jurisdiction in relation to a source city (Atlanta).

“I was caught really off guard because I had no idea I had gotten an award this year,” Kendrick said.

Kendrick, a special operations investigator, said his statistics included seizures of prescription medication, crack cocaine, methamphetamines, marijuana, stolen vehicles and guns and DUI and wanted persons arrests.

He also won the 2013 Most Guns Seized award with 28 illegally owned or unregistered guns taken.

“If you get a gram of dope or if you get a ton of dope, it’s all dope you’re getting off the street,” Kendrick said. “Just because you take a gun off the street today doesn’t mean there won’t be a gun out there tomorrow.”

Kendrick worked for the Butts County Sheriff’s Office for 16 years before coming to Social Circle about a year ago and received his first NCEA award in 2008. While police officers do not get into the business for fame and glory, Kendrick said, it does feel good to be recognized in front of thousands of officers for efforts in the field.

“It’s like being called to the front of the class,” Kendrick said. “When you’re recognized by a national organization, it does tend to give the guys a little more go-get-‘em attitude to work every case to the fullest.”

Kendrick wasn’t the only way Social Circle was spotlighted at the conference. The SCPD received the award for 2013 Specialized Narcotics Unit of the Year. Since there is no official drug unit in Social Circle, the Uniform Division and Special Operations Unit combine forces to conduct narcotics investigations. Kendrick, Sgt. John Race and Patrol Officer Glen Ingram comprised the unit the NCEA recognized.

“That was a collective effort. There were even officers at the department who made stops at our request who helped us,” Kendrick said.

“When you’re a small agency, you can see everyone on the other side of the room with you,” said Social Circle Police Chief Terry Sosebee. “We’re all trying to do the same thing. We all do a little of everything.”

Sosebee described Kendrick as an officer with good work ethic who is a “good representation of what the agency has been attempting to accomplish by expanding the scope of our capabilities.”

“You don’t get a lot of recognition for these types of jobs,” Sosebee said.

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