In his more than a decade and a half as Covington Police Chief, Stacey Cotton has led his men and women in the way he was taught to conduct himself by Judge Stacey W. Cotton and Suzanne Cotton — with ethics.
He is quick to tell you that ethics are hard to define, but being ethical is doing things the right and honest way.
What is ethical may be defined differently from one person to the next, but for District 6910 of Rotary International, it defines Chief Cotton as the epitome of an ethical Rotarian. On May 9 Stacey Cotton was named the recipient of the Guardian of Ethics Award at the District 6910 conference in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
A day later on Mother’s Day, he was able to present the award to his mother, who he said taught him ethics at an early age.
“Judge Stacey W. Cotton and Ann Cotton taught me the four-way test long before I joined Rotary,” said Chief Cotton at the club’s most recent meeting, referring to Rotary’s mantra. That mantra requires members to ask themselves: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
With those questions constantly in the back of his mind, Chief Cotton has helped guide the CPD to accreditation. He has led his department to be recognized throughout the state and nation as being highly professional, civically engaged, and morally conscientious. Chief Cotton not only leads his department with a moral compass, but he guides his own life with that same ethical behavior.
Cotton has also been a member of the Rotary Club of Covington for 17 years, and has been instrumental in spearheading the club’s Empty Stocking Fund project, which helps deliver Christmas presents to needy children in the area. That work, and his many other efforts led to fellow Rotarian Doug Bolton, himself a retired police officer, to nominate him for the district ethics award.
Chief Cotton was unanimously selected for the award by a board of judges from across the District which encompasses most of north Georgia and chosen from over 30 nominations.
The Rotary International District 6910 Guardian of Ethics award recognizes an individual who has been a Rotarian for a minimum of three years and who has made outstanding contributions that foster the development of ethics, has made significant contributions in his or her vocation and who has by his or her actions; writing, policies and public pronouncements strengthened and fostered development of ethical practices.