Capt. Dale Reid was given the Purple Heart due to an incident that occurred sometime in the late 1980s, when a murder suspect was appearing before a judge for a hearing in what is now the Historic Courthouse and the inmate decided to take off running.
COVINGTON -- The Newton County Sheriff's Office honored its own, past and present, in a ceremony Thursday afternoon hosted by Sheriff Ezell Brown at the Historic Courthouse.
A wide range of deputies and employees were honored for job performance, heroic acts and longevity.
The Sheriff's Medal of Honor Award went to four officers. Deputy Christopher Jarrett Allen and Deputy Wesley Atha received the award due to their acts during an incident that occurred on Oct. 15, 2011, around 1:30 a.m. The deputies were called to the scene when it was reported a man was in the street shooting at houses.
"They confronted him and he pointed a weapon at them and they discharged their firearms," said Lt. Paul Gunter, who coordinated the awards event. "The suspect was wounded and there were no other injuries."
Also, Deputy Darrell Odom received the award for his service on Oct. 1, 2011, while assisting the U.S. Marshals Service serve a murder warrant on Bush Trail.
"The subject came around the corner of the house, pointed a gun at the deputy and he discharged his firearm," Gunter said. "No one was hit, but the perpetrator gave up."
Also, several award recipients were honored for past service to the department.
"The sheriff wanted to recognize former and retired deputies for service before we had an award process," Gunter said, adding that one current employee was honored for his work during an incident that occurred 30 years ago.
Capt. Morris Jones, who was also honored for his 35 years of service with NCSO, was given the Medal of Honor for an event that occurred in 1982 and former NCSO deputy and current Covington Police Department Capt. Craig Treadwell was given the Purple Heart.
Jones and Treadwell were patrolling the area of Star and Dial Roads off Ga. Highway 81 when they came upon a suspicious vehicle parked on a logging road.
"It was occupied by two males. Not knowing they had felony warrants out against them and had just committed a burglary, (the officers) attempted to interview them and one of them pulled a gun and began shooting," Gunter said. "Craig was shot and Capt. Jones returned fire. The suspect's gun jammed and both of the suspects were arrested without further incident."
Gunter said the Purple Heart Award is given to those who are wounded in the line of duty.
"Your injury must be considered grievous and actions must be above and beyond the call of duty without negligence by the officer," he explained.
Other Purple Heart recipients for 2011 are Deputy Brad Varenski, who on Oct. 20 was attempting to make an arrest on Jericho Drive and the suspect took off running. The deputy gave chase, lost his balance and received injuries to his left leg that have required numerous surgeries to repair.
Also, Tommy Lee Thompson was given the Purple Heart due to an encounter with a vicious dog in September. The dog wouldn't let the residents of a home leave and when Thompson attempted to intervene, the dog grabbed his left hand.
"He had to discharge his firearm at the dog and received injuries to his hand which required multiple surgeries," Gunter said.
And retired Capt. Dell Reid was given the Purple Heart due to an incident that occurred sometime in the late 1980s.
A murder suspect was appearing before a judge for a hearing in what is now the Historic Courthouse and the inmate decided to take off running.
"He ran down the steps, out of the courthouse, and Capt. Reid jumped off the second floor balcony of the courthouse and onto the suspect.
"He injured both his knees, but captured the bad guy," Gunter said.
Recipients of the Meritorious Service Award went to those who went above and beyond the call of duty. They are: Christopher Jarrett Allen, who attempted CPR on a person; Terry Rogers, who heads up the NCSO Warrant Division and is well-respected throughout the state; Timothy Dickerson, a patrol deputy who stays after hours and does excellent reports; and K9 Deputy Chad Hunt and Pete who found a 2-year-old child who had wandered away from home in February of 2011.
"The Sheriff's Commendation award is given specifically to those individuals who have made an impact on the Sheriff's Office," Gunter said.
Sheriff's Commendation honorees are: Lt. Keith Crum, Administrative Tech Apryl Brown and Deputy Andrew Alexander for their word on certification; Deputy Jack Redlinger for his service as a motorcycle officer and extra hours he puts in to lead funeral processions, doing community outreach and other special details; and Investigator Sharron Stewart and Administrative Tech Dalleen Bradford for their work in organizing the First Annual Reality Bytes Cyber Safety Summit in October of last year. It was attended by more than 200 residents, including many teens, and focused on the problem of cyber bullying. Stewart also received the Georgia Bureau of Investigation ICAC Excellence Award for her part in creating the program.
The Humanitarian Award went to Deputy Jacquetta E. McCoy who is in charge of Community Outreach.
"The sheriff felt like not only did she reach out into the community, but was involved in a lot of other programs," Gunter said, adding McCoy oversaw the driver's education program as well as programs encouraging the use of seat belts and child safety seats.
Also, former Sheriff Gerald Malcom was honored for serving the longest as sheriff of Newton County with five terms, amounting to 20 years of service.
Other awards included Division Deputies of the Year Charles R. Cook III, Richard Antonio Howard, Randy O. Downs Jr., Ronald Eugene Woodson and Brandon R. Esque; Administrator of the Year, C. Juanita Threadgill; Deputy of the Year, Maurice C. Kennard, Rookie of the Year, Jacob T. Rice and Employee of the Year, Novell L. Ellis.
Employees were also honored based on their years of service to the department.