The Conasauga Safe Streets Taskforce earned Jimmy Sampley Officer of the Year awards. The group includes FBI special agent Timothy Coakley, Jose Rivera of Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office, Ron Kilgore and Chris Tucker of the Dalton Police Department and Javier Marquez of the Calhoun Police Department.
The taskforce, which focuses on violent gang activity, has made more than 150 arrests since forming in 2005.
“Numerous federal prosecutions have resulted in long prison terms for violent gang members and drug traffickers,” said FBI special agent Gary Wills, who nominated the taskforce.
More recently in 2011, the group arrested members of a Mexican drug cartel that handled cocaine and methamphetamine throughout the Southeast.
Master Trooper R.W. “Bill” Bowman from Post 41 also earned a Jimmy Sampley award. He will be retiring later this year after 41 years in law enforcement service. Bowman’s career began in the early 1970s in the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office under sheriff Lee Roy. Numerous certifications helped him train the next generation of troopers for northwest Georgia.
“Besides having a long and prosperous career, this trooper is civic-minded and helps to provide for children in need both locally and across the state,” said Sgt. Chris DeBord, Georgia State Patrol, post 41. Debord nominated Bowman for the award.
The Rossville Exchange Club also honored Catoosa County sheriff Phil Summers, who served as guest speaker and is retiring after 22 years as sheriff.
“It (law enforcement) is a camaraderie,” Summers said, “I think in my decision to retire as sheriff, I think that is the thing I am going to miss the most.”
He hopes to find another role in law enforcement in northwest Georgia. Summers began his career in 1975 in the Walker County Sheriff’s Office under sheriff Ralph Jones.
The club’s chairman Don Martin thanked all law enforcement members for their service to the community.