John Pearson, former assistant police chief of Hogansville, recognized with award by HPD Chief Sheppard

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Hogansville Police Chief Jeff Sheppard had a great deal to take on when he stepped into his current role earlier this year. He noted that he had a guidance from a lot of leaders, including that of former Hogansville Assistant Police Chief John Pearson.

Sheppard decided Tuesday night that thanks were long overdue. He awarded Pearson with the honorary rank and title of Assistant Chief of Police, Emeritus, of the City of Hogansville, complete with a plaque noting his honor. 

“He helped this department get accredited, and he pushed us to become a professional, accredited department,” he said. “With all honesty, I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for [him.]”

Pearson spent five years with the Hogansville Police Department and left shortly after former Chief Moses Ector retired in 2014. 

Sheppard joined the police department in 2008 shortly after, during a time when Ector was dealing with a “struggling police department.” In an attempt to elevate some of the department’s shortcomings, Ector brought in Pearson as assistant chief. 

“That man was a disciplinarian … and having worked under him for five long years, I got to know John Pearson very well,” Sheppard noted. “He did a lot to get the department out of the position that it was in.”

Through his work with Pearson, Sheppard saw him as a chief first, but in time, as a human being and a friend. He recalled one time witnessing Pearson assist several senior residents with their bills, dishing out money from his own pocket so that their power would not be cut off.

“He threatened me with an inch of my life, as long as he worked here, to not say anything,” he said. 

When Sheppard took over as interim chief in 2020, Pearson offered his expertise to help Sheppard fine-tune his skills for the role, a mentorship that continued when Sheppard was promoted to chief in May. 

Now that he “outranks” Pearson, Sheppard decided he could finally give Pearson the recognition he deserved. 

“He quietly exited stage right [when he left],” he said. “He didn’t receive his five-year award, he didn’t receive that appreciation from the city that I felt he deserved.” 

Pearson accepted the honor with pride, thanking the city, his family and the Hogansville Police Department.

“This is the most significant honor that I’ve ever received in my 40 years of law enforcement, and I say thank you,” Pearson said. 

He additionally thanked the city for appointing Sheppard in his current role. 

“I am absolutely certain, without a doubt he will continue to make you and the citizens of Hogansville proud as their chief of police,” Pearson said. 

Pearson currently serves as chief deputy of the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.