On the eve of the 12th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, local law enforcement officers and first responders were honored Tuesday with the first-ever Troup County Valor Awards.
“Every member of every agency who is here, along with those who are not here, is owed a debt of gratitude,” said LaGrange Public Safety Chief Lou Dekmar. “They have an opportunity to touch lives in a way few others do. They have answered the call of service.”
Dekmar said a law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty every two days and a firefighter is killed every three days. On Sept. 11, 2001, 14 percent of all victims were public safety officers.
The valor awards were voted on by a committee of LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce, which hosted the event, and others. Dekmar suggested creating the awards after honoring members of his own department for several years. The valor awards were open to any and all law enforcement and public safety officers in Troup County.
Public Safety Awards were given to the following recipients:
Communications Officer: Nikki Mallory, Troup County 911
Mallory answered a call one night that was an “open line,” where no one spoke after making the call. Mallory was able to hear in the background, however, that a burglary suspect was at the house. She was able to direct police to the house, where they found the suspect and evidence from the burglary. Officers were able to make the arrest and return the stolen property.
Communications Unit: Troup County 911 operators Amanda Nichols, Danielle Howard, Carrie Nuckells, Nina Glover, Brittany Koone and Amy Mains.
The unit was working on the night of the incident in Union Street park where seven victims were shot. The women answered more than 40 calls to 911 of people who had seen the shooting, been shot, or couldn’t leave the scene because of the meleé.
Public Safety Person of the Year: Det. Casey Fuller, West Point Police Department
In November 2012, Fuller began surveillance on a man suspected of selling large amounts of marijuana and officers were able purchase 2 pounds of the drug from him undercover. That led to an arrest in June 2013 and a search of three properties the suspect owned, where 10 pounds of marijuana, money, guns, ammunition and two vehicles. The arrest also led to the arrest of another suspect with more drugs. The more than 50 pounds seized in total, along with $67,000 is the largest seizure in West Point.
Lifesaving Award: LaGrange police officer Wendy Bishop
Bishop responded to a call where a person had been stabbed in the leg and used a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. First responders who got to the scene after her said the victim actually had a severed artery and likely would have died without her intervention.
Bronze Medal of Valor: Inv. Shawn Clark, LaGrange police
Clark was on vacation in Florida when, fishing in the Apalachicola Bay, a contract worker on a bridge fell into the water. Clark saved the man from drowning.