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Sheriff’s office holds annual awards ceremony
Cpl. Jack Redlinger with family, Sheriff Ezell Brown (right) and Chief Deputy Jerry Carter (left). - photo by Darryl Welch

COVINGTON, Ga. – The Newton County’s Sheriff’s Office held its 2019 awards ceremony at the Newton College and Career Academy Feb. 1

The 10th annual event gave the department and community an opportunity to honor and say "Thank you" to those who put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect Newton County and its citizens.

In addition to awards for years of service, lifesaving, humanitarian acts and employees of the year for different divisions, Capt. Sammy Banks and Cpl. Jack Redlinger and Colin Cunningham received meritorious service awards for their actions in the immediate aftermath of the shooting of Covington Police Department Officer Matt Cooper Sept. 3, 2018.

NCSO Lt. Paul Gunter said the deputies helped CPD officers in setting up the perimeter and secure the scene and protect the wounded officer while the whereabouts of the shooter was not yet known. Additionally, Redlinger made arrangements with jurisdictions between Covington and Atlanta so Cooper’s family would not be delayed getting to the hospital.

Redlinger also received a Lifesaver Award for actions that helped save Cooper’s life that day.

“In that same situation,” Gunter said. “The bullet went into the officer’s head in a way that the officer was unable to breathe. Jack positioned the head to keep the officer breathing and assisted him to the helicopter.”

Keynote speaker District 43 State Sen. Tonya Anderson told the deputies public service can be a thankless job.

"Tonight, we came to say ‘Thank you,’" she said. "You’ll get blamed for a lot, but not thanked enough. So, thank you can never come as quickly as we would always like. So, thank you. And thank you in advance for what you will continue to do.”

Anderson told the deputies to commit to exhibiting integrity, commitment, servant leadership and excellence.

She also told them to be persistent.

“There is no straight path from where you are to where you are going," she said. "Your career and life has stops, starts, zigzags, commas, colons and pauses. There will be surprises at all turns but don’t ever give up on yourself. Don’t ever give up on your family or your community.”

In closing, Anderson said, "I consciously remind you that these are troubling times that we are living in. Life is full of many challenges and the world that we live in is far from perfect.

“I believe that because you have shown us in the past that we can depend on you and that we will continue to be able to depend on you and that you will continue to make us proud. Continue to give your best. Continue to work hard and smart. Demonstrate integrity, maintain the public trust, stay committed keep the heart of a servant leader and be persistent.

“Be safe out there and thank you for answering the call.”

2018 Newton County Sheriff’s Office Awards Recipients

Deputy of the Year

Deputy Jathan Nagrodski

Employee of the Year

Karen Kenney

Rookie of the Year

Deputy America James

Division Deputy of the Year

Investigator Clinton French-Criminal Investigation Division

Quartermaster Keith Brown-Support Services Division

Deputy Kurt Collins-Uniform Patrol Division

Deputy David Altwies-Court Services Division

Sgt. Julie Carter-Detention Division


Deputy Sam Johnson

Cpl. Jack Redlinger

Investigator Veronica Williams


Sgt. Michael Cunningham

Investigator Veronica Williams

Explorer of the Year

Walter Cowart 

Retirement Recognition

Tim Allen

Darrell Anders

Charles Day


Capt. Sammy Banks

Cpl. Jack Redlinger

Cpl. Colin Cunningham