On Friday, February 24, at 6:30 p.m. the Swainsboro Police Department held their annual banquet and awards ceremony at Beaver Creek. Each year, the banquet is held by the department to recognize officers who have performed meritorious acts, displayed exemplary performance while carrying out official duties, or excelled in education and training during 2022.
Chief Randy Ellison commenced the evening presentation by welcoming guests and recognizing special attendee’s, including Sgt. Grant and Administrative Assistant, Zelda Sumner, for a job well-done in decorating and preparing the venue for the nights event.
He further gave appreciation on behalf of Swainsboro’s law enforcement to the Webb Family for allowing the agency to host their awards ceremony at Beaver Creek as well as the spouses and family members of the department for the sacrifice they make each and every day.
Before concluding with special thanks, Ellison shared a loving mention for his wife, Wanda, who has dedicated 34 years of her time to understanding his dedication to duty, even while fighting cancer. He acknowledged a deep appreciation for everyone in the room that had sent her kind regards and prayers during her time of need and shared that last year, Mrs. Wanda had won the battle against the horrible, deadly disease.
Following the National Anthem, Staff Sergeant Angie Wilkerson gave the invocation, and a fine meal was provided for guests.
Mayor Greg Bennett conducted the Departments Oath and the swearing in of its newest members; Ptl. Starnes and Ptl. Santos. He then recognized Swainsboro Animal Control as well as SPD’s administrative staff, for the wonderful job they do for the city of Swainsboro.
Chief Randy Ellison presented the following officers with the promotion of Patrolman First Class:
Ptl. Seth Purvis, Ptl. Tyler McCarty, Ptl. Austin Newton.
He then recognized, Cpl. Robbie Carter, Cpl. Adam Kersey, and Cpl. Todd Purcell, for their hard work and dedication that they have displayed in their position as corporal, he further explained that they have successfully completed the necessary time and training in supervision level and have each passed the written exam for consideration for the rank of Sergeant. Cpl. Carter, Cpl. Kersey, and Cpl. Purcell was then promoted to the rank of Sergeant and presented by Chief Ellison as Sergeant Carter, Sergeant Kersey, and Sergeant Purcell.
After those recognitions, Sgt. Josh Bedgood was then recognized for the hard work and dedication he has displayed since joining the agency in 2016. He has since successfully completed the necessary two years of service in his rank of sergeant, as well as the necessary training in receiving a passing score on all three levels of supervision training as required by policy and the written exam for consideration for the rank of Staff Sergeant. In having the position vacant to consider, Chief Ellison promoted Sgt. Josh Bedgood to Staff Sergeant Josh Bedgood.
Staff Sergeant Rebecca Snelgrove was recognized by the agency for the hard work and dedication she has displayed since joining the agency in 2016 and while in her position of Staff Sergeant. Because of successfully completing the necessary two years of service while in her present rank and completing the necessary training in receiving a passing score on all three levels of supervision training and both levels of 1 and 2 pf management training at state level as required by policy, she was promoted to Sergeant First Class, Rebecca Snelgrove.
Staff Sergeant Angie Wilkerson was recognized by the agency for the hard work and dedication she has displayed since joining the agency in 2011. While in her position of Staff Sergeant she successfully completed the necessary two years of service at her present rank and completed the necessary training in receiving a passing score on all three levels of supervision training and all three levels of management training at state level as required by policy and in having a vacant position to consider, was promoted to sergeant First Class Angie Wilkerson.
The last order of business that was handled for the night was the presentation of the Officer of the Year of 2022. The Officer of the Year award goes to the officer who is selected by his or her peers as
having demonstrated extraordinary accomplishments over the previous year. The award ribbon is worn by the selected officer for one year, unless reselected for the same.
Selected by the majority vote to receive this prestigious award for his service was Tyler McCarty who began his full-time service with SPD on April 7, 2021.
Chief Randy Ellison gave this wonderful statement, indicting McCarty as Officer of the Year:
“Ever since his first day of work, he has gone in to work prepared to tackle whatever comes his way during his tour of duty. He keeps himself motivated and does not allow outside influences to affect his job duties. Regardless of where or when you need this officer, he will be there ready to provide assistance. It gives me a great pleasure to present the 2022 ‘Officer of the Year ‘ award to Patrolman First Class, Tyler McCarty, who will join the names of the Officers who have been selected in the past as indicted by a plaque displayed in the agency’s headquarters.”
In closing, Chief Ellison reminded each officer of how important their job is to this community by making this statement:
“When justice is absent, chaos will prevail. In chaos, businesses will not last, people will not stay, and property will be destroyed. The only barrier between those that cause chaos and those that live in peace is you.”
List of all awards presented for the night:
Intoximeter: Ptl. Tyler McCarty and Ptl. Austin Netwon
Safe Driver: Cpl. Adam Kersey
Supervision: Sgt. Josh Bedgood and Cpl. Robbie Carter
Management: SSgt. Rebecca Snelgrove
Weapons Marksman: SSgt. Angie Wilkerson – Ribbon; Ptl. Seth Purvis – Ribbon; Ptl. Tyler McCarty – Single Knot
Weapons Expert: Ptl. Austin Newton – Ribbon; Ptl. Le’untay Starnes – Ribbon; Pfc. Kayleigh McVey – Ribbon; Sqt. Josh Bedgood – Single Knot; Capt. Richard Peacock – Triple Knot; Sgt. Weston Coleman – Four Knot; Cpl. Adam Kersey – Five Knot; Sgt. Ashley Riner -Single Knot (Second Ribbon); Lt. Coleman Hall (Third Ribbon)
Top Gun – Highest Score: Lt. Coleman Hall
Military Service: Ptl. Le’untay Starnes
Good Conduct: Cpl. Todd Purcell – Ribbon; Sgt. James Young – Bronze 2 Insignia; SSgt. Rebecca Snelgrove – Bronze 2 Insignia; Sfc. Craig Waring – Bronze 3 Insignia; Lt. Coleman Hall Bronze 4 Insignia; Capt. Richard Peacock – Bronze 4 Insignia
Intermediate POST Certification: Cpl. Adam Kersey
Education Achievement: Pfc. Kayleigh McVey and Sgt. Weston Coleman
Life Saving – February 28, 2022, Incident: Cpl. Adam Kersey
Intermediate Certification: Criminal Procedure 40 hour course; Health and Wellness 22 hour course; Crisis intervention/Verbal judo 16 hour course; First Responder 40 hour course; Officer Survival 40 hour course