COVINGTON — The Covington Police Department is encouraging residents to make a donation to the Buddy Christian Memorial Fund. Christian was the Athens-Clarke County police officer who was shot and killed Tuesday while attempting to apprehend a robbery suspect. Another officer, Tony Howard, was shot in the face and upper body and is recovering from his wounds.
"Officers from the Covington Police Department established the Police Who Care fund in 1978 to offer financial aid to the families of officers who are killed in the line of duty," explained Public Information Officer Capt. Ken Malcom. "The PWC has sent money to Officer Christian's memorial fund and the members of the CPD would like to encourage citizens of Covington to do the same."
Donations can be made to the Buddy Christian Memorial Fund, in care of the Athens First Bank and Trust, 150 W. Hancock Ave., Athens, GA 30601.
"Officers (here) have heavy hearts again because of the recent murder of another law enforcement officer close to home," Malcom said, recalling the recent deaths of Rockdale County Sheriff's Office Deputy Brian Lamar Mahaffey in May and Georgia State Trooper 1st Class Chadwick LeCrow in December.
"(They) were killed near the Covington area and serve as sobering reminders of just how dangerous law enforcement can be," Malcom said.
He noted that though CPD officers are issued state-of-the-art equipment such as updated bulletproof vests and weapons and receive excellent firearms training and officer safety training on a regular basis, officers are aware of the constant dangers of their profession.
"Each year many officers, with the same type of training and equipment, end up making the ultimate sacrifice for their community," Malcom said. "Officers serving Covington know that they may be placed in harm's way at any minute and have to be prepared to act."
The suspect, Jamie Hood, 33, of Athens, was reportedly located and surrounded by law enforcement in a hostage standoff as of press time.