Late BPS officers remembered

Published 5:43 pm Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Area law enforcement officers recently united to honor the memories of two former Bainbridge Public Safety officers who passed away in April.

Officer Collin E. Hastey passed away April 13, at his residence.

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Hastey worked at the Decatur County Jail from 1998-2004. After a couple of years working as a police officer in Walton County, Ga., he returned to Bainbridge and began working for BPS in December 2006. He was also a member of the Kendrick Volunteer Fire Department.

On April 16, 2009, Hastey suffered an aortic aneurysm and underwent emergency surgery at a hospital in Atlanta, Ga. Several days later, his wife Gina gave birth to the couple’s second son, Gage.

Hastey returned to full duty in July 2009 but became seriously ill in September 2010 and battled health issues for the rest of his life.

On Tuesday, a long funeral procession — including a number of emergency response vehicles — accompanied Hastey from Fellowship Baptist Church in Brinson to the Oak City Cemetery in Bainbridge.

After the procession crossed the Calhoun Street bridge in downtown Bainbridge, it passed under a 30-foot American flag displayed overhead with the help of two ladder-equipped fire trucks, one from Bainbridge and another from Donalsonville. A crowd of about 50 people, including city employees, firefighters and others, gathered to watch the procession pass.

At Hastey’s funeral, a string of three sirens went off back-to-back from separate directions, signifying the sounding of the last alarm for the fallen firefighter. A number of local officers wore a strip bearing Hastey’s badge number, 067, over their badges.

Chad Stewart, an E-911 dispatcher who is also a volunteer firefighter, spoke the “last call” of a fallen officer over the emergency radio.

“Collin Emery Hastey is 10-7 [out of service] forever,” Stewart said. “Rest easy, brother, we’ll take it from here.”

Former Captain Willie J. King Jr., who worked for the Bainbridge Police Department and Public Safety from December 1984 to September 2006, passed away April 7 at the age of 56. The American flag in front of BPS headquarters on Shotwell Street flew at half mast in his honor following his passing.

On Saturday, April 14, Public Safety officers led King’s funeral procession from his home to Emanuel Missionary Baptist Church off Green Shade Road. Following a funeral service, King was laid to rest in the church’s cemetery.

King, a native of Terrell County, was promoted to the rank of captain in 1998 and served as a patrol shift supervisor at BPS until his retirement in 2006.