Griffin named Peace Officer of the Year

Published 4:30 pm Friday, January 23, 2009

The late Deputy Robert Armand Griffin of the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office is the recipient of the 2008 Montford-Lynn Peace Officer of the Year award in recognition of his personal and professional conduct that exemplified the highest standard of integrity in serving the citizens of Decatur County.

Griffin is the 23rd person to receive the award named in honor of two deceased Decatur County peace officers—Capt. Wayne Montford of the Bainbridge Police Department and Idus J. Lynn, former Bainbridge Police Chief and later Special Agent for the FBI—whose personal character, moral standards and professional competence endure as role models for the profession.

Deputy Griffin was killed in a vehicle accident while responding to an E-911 dispatch of a juvenile threatening suicide on May 1, 2008.

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Griffin had been with the Sheriff’s Office since 2005 when he retired from the U.S. Navy. Griffin was a member of the Sheriff’s tactical response unit, comprised of deputies trained to handle danger situations such as armed robberies, hostage situations and felony drug busts. Griffin was also a pilot and enjoyed flying as a hobby.

This year’s active selection committee included Superior Court Chief Judge A. Wallace Cato, State Court Judge George C. Floyd, Municipal Court Judge Joshua Bell, District Attorney Joe Mulholland, Bainbridge Mayor Mark Harrell, Bainbridge City Manager Chris Hobby, County Commission Chairman Palmer Rich and County Administrator Tom Patton.

The committee unanimously selected Griffin to receive the award, said Jeff Findley, publisher of The Post-Searchlight.

Several nomination letters were received on behalf of Griffin from fellow officers and friends. In the letters, he was described as an outstanding deputy that performed his duties to the highest standards and a man who greatly enjoyed helping people in the community.

“There are a lot of outstanding peace officers in Decatur County, but none of them as outstanding as the late Deputy Robert Griffin, who answered the final call while serving this community,” wrote Sgt. Keith Pollock, Bainbridge code enforcement officer, in his nomination letter.

Co-workers described him as a man extremely dedicated to helping others who always put the public first.

“Throughout his life, he [Griffin] served his fellow citizens,” Sheriff Wiley Griffin said. “After 20 years in the Navy, he continued his service by becoming a Decatur County deputy sheriff. He was a dedicated employee that enjoyed life. He is greatly missed.”

On Griffin’s behalf, surviving family members accepted an engraved commemorative clock in recognition of the award at the Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce annual awards ceremony and reception held at the Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center Thursday evening.

Past recipients of the award were: 1983—Lt. James West Sr., DCSO (posthumously); 1984—Chief Deputy Jim Morris, DCSO; 1985—Capt. David Green, Georgia Department of Natural Resources; 1986—Investigator Art Davis, DCSO; 1987—Sgt. Donald H. Murphy, Georgia State Patrol; 1988—Deputy Director Larry Funderburke, BPSD; 1989—Capt. Jerry Carter, BPSD; 1991—Deputy H.L. Coleman, DCSO; 1992—Deputy Gale Bowyer, DCSO; 1994—Trooper David Ellis, GSP; 1995—Cpl. Peggy Perkins, DCSO; 1996—Detective Wendell Cofer, BPSD; 1998—Deputy Redell Walton, DCSO; 1999—Agent David Kirkland, BPSD; 2000—Deputy Brent Loeffler, DCSO; 2001—Sgt. Brian Donalson, BPSD; 2002—Deputy Cecilia Willis, DCSO; 2003—Capt. Frank Green, DCSO; 2004—Warden Jim Miller, DCCI; 2005—Senior Trooper James Miller, GSP; 2006—Special Agent Bahan Rich, Georgia Bureau of Investigation; and 2007—Sgt. Keith Pollock, BPSD.