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Newton County Sheriff's Office holds 12th annual awards ceremony
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Several officers with the Newton County Sheriff's Office were honored Friday night. - photo by Michael Bandoo

Friday night held the 12th culmination of the Newton County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) awards.

The event saw hundreds in attendance, featuring some notable guest speakers.

Leading off the event was the Alcovy High School Chorus who sang the National Anthem, with colors presented by the NCSO Honor Guard.

A special video message was then played featuring none other than governor Brian Kemp and first lady of Georgia Marty Kemp. The two wished NCSO well in the pre-recorded video package.

“While you have faced and overcome unprecedented challenges in recent years, know that your state has your back,” the governor said. “We will always proudly support our law enforcement.”

Echoing Kemp’s sentiment in law enforcement support was guest speaker and Newton County native, Tim Fleming – the State representative for House District 114.

“I can tell you this, I support you 100 percent,” Fleming said. “Your Georgia State legislature supports you 100 percent and as you just saw your Governor supports you 100 percent.”

Fleming thanked the entire NCSO as well as a personal thanks to Sheriff Ezell Brown.

Following Fleming’s speech, Sergeant Jack Redlinger led the awards presentation, starting with years of celebration.

Celebrating one year of service at the NCSO were Nikitha Aynsley, Macharia Belgrave, Ayanna Brown, Yolanda Brown, Murphy Chapman, Quintarious Cooper, Valdis Culver, Alannah Elliott, Joseph Evans, Luc Eyma, Shanta Garrett, John Hood, Mia Johnson, Diana Luong, Amdna Mcgiboney, Lashine Mckay, Paulette Mcleod, Devan Moore, Elizebeth Myers, Martel Robinson, Aleshia Taylor, Dwayne Turner and Michelle Wise.

Next honored were those who celebrated five years of service, which include Crystal Albright, Shawn Banks, Peter Douglas, Ashton Elder, Teneka Hurt, Karen Kenny, Victoria Smith, LaTonya Strouble, Kevin Wilkerson, Dustin Wooten and Sandy Williams.

Reaching the 10 years of service mark were Alison Grimaldi, Tracy Gunraj, Jonathan Hicks, Donna Mcneish, Tremelle Riley and Mark Sanzo.

Several also hit the 15 years of service mark, including Jocelyn Detweiler, Wesley Dickerson, Novel Ellis, Thomas Gladden, Samuel Johnson, Stacey Malcom, Brian Taylor and Daniel Underwood.

Those who reached 20 years of service are Ameshia Crafter, Brandon Esque, Donella Freeman, Susan Gray, Tony Howard, Felicia Jefferson, Gilbert Jefferson, Vincent Loveless, Brent Morrison, Danny Peppers, James Stevens and Rena Swann.

Lastly, those who were acknowledged for 25 years of service were George Gardner and David Kollar.

Next were the Division Deputy of the Year (DDTY) awards, which were split up in a number of categories.

Patrol Division: Corporal Wesley Dickerson

Detention Division: Windell Darrington

Office of Professional Standards: Investigator Jamie Green

CID Division: Investigator Joshua Hicks

SID Division: Corporal David Gilbert

Administrative Division: Crystal Albright

A number of other categorial awards were honored including:

Rookie of the Year: Shanta Garrett

Employee of the Year: Brian Taylor

Deputy of the Year:  Corporal David Gilbert

Humanitarian Award: Veronica Williams

Meritorious Service Award: Deputy Joseph McClarin and Deputy Desmond Jackson

Medal of Honor: Sergeant Timothy Dickerson

Purple Heart Award: Deputy Troy Mason

Outstanding Community Contribution: Kimberly Cox, Michael Gregg, Veronica Williams and Jack Redlinger

Retirement Recognition: Deputy Christopher Allen, Deputy Jamess Bell, Corporal David Gilbert, Captain Doug Kitchens, Deputy Dana Maddox and Corporal Steve Walden

A video then played of those listed “In Memoriam,” which included sheriffs Joe Nichols, Henry Odum Sr, Liffton L. Odum, Thomas M. Bates, John L. Berry, Grady Benton, C.L. Butler, Sam M. Hay, B.L. Johnson and Henry Anderson.

Also listed were Bennie Long, Justin White, Benjamin Kennedy, Jack Simpson, Jai Curry, David Jones, Yvonne McMullen, Raydene Thomason and Kerry Maduro.

To close out the ceremony family members of Brown took to the stage to commemorate his legacy in law enforcement. 

Brown, who said he was “caught by surprise” by the proclamation, stated that he was thankful for the ceremony and those in attendance.

He also acknowledged his sister, retired chief Wilma Griffin, who Brown said was a trailblazer for him.

“I started in law enforcement just about a year before she, and she started in law enforcement and broke every barrier,” Brown said. “From corporal to chief and that inspired me to be who I am today.”

As he reflected on the past year, Brown stressed his intentions to uphold the expectations met by the department in 2023.

“As we approach a new year, it is my commitment as always to put this community first,” Brown said. “To carry out the fundamental duties to which I’ve been called to do and that is to serve and protect each and every last one of you.”