Deputy Sheriff Josh Mauney of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office was named the 2014 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for the Griffin Judicial Circuit, but Upson County made its presence felt. The award came at District Attorney Scott Ballard’s 8th Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Banquet, held last Thursday night at the First Baptist Church of Fayetteville.
Representing Thomaston and Upson County were fifth graders Landon Davis and Lauren McDaniel of Upson-Lee North Elementary. Landon’s artwork was chosen for the front of the program, while Lauren was one of 16 finalists chosen for the Essay Contest, with all of them having their photographs and essays printed in a booklet.
Also representing Thomaston and Upson County were Thomaston Police Officer Johnnie Middlebrooks, who was a member of the Color Guard. Finalists for Law Enforcement Officer of the Year from Upson County included Sheriff’s Captain Ralph Searcy, State Patrol Trooper Mitch Day of Post 26 in Thomaston, and retired GBI agent Charles McMichen of Thomaston
McMichen also received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to the people of Georgia. In relating McMichen’s accomplishments in almost 50 years in law enforcement Ballard stated McMichen’s lifetime of service in law enforcement is an inspiration to everyone.
“Law enforcement is not a hobby, it is a profession. Some pursue it for a few years, and move on to other pursuits. For others, it becomes a lifelong endeavor. It consumes them for decades; ultimately it defines them. The Lifetime Achievement Award gives us the opportunity to salute those veteran peace officers for whom law enforcement is a calling. Certainly that is the case with the recipient of this year’s award,” said Ballard.
“He graduated from Fayette County High School and began working for the Clayton County Sheriff in 1965. In 1968, he moved to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department, where he was the only deputy on the force. In 1971 he joined the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, where he served the people of this state for 30 years. He helped establish the first GBI drug squad, and also its first SWAT team. During his tenure with the GBI, he was a Special Agent in Charge, and led offices in Thomaston, Perry, Dublin, and Atlanta.
“Among his accomplishments were the arrests of several kingpins in the Dixie Mafia, heading up the Governor’s Drug Taskforce, and working with the Atlanta U. S. Attorney’s Office of President Ronald Reagan’s Southeast Region Crime Drug Enforcement Taskforce. Additionally, he was placed in charge of the Special Response Team command post and served on President Bill Clinton’s National Drug Committee. He supervised the Information Center for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 ParaOlympics.
“As for his education, he attended Clayton College, the FBI National Academy, the University of Virginia, the FBI SWAT School, and the Certified Public Manager’s school at the University of Georgia. He is a Georgia POST-Certified police instructor, a Cabinet Director and executive level Police Manager.
He’s received many awards throughout his career. Those include numerous awards of excellence from the DEA, the FBI, the Marines, Sheriffs, District Attorneys, the U. S. Attorneys, governors and senators. In 1994 he received the GBI Director’s Award for working a case that identified 444 bodies that were displaced by the floods in Albany, Georgia. In 1999 he was inducted in the International Who’s Who of Professional Management,” said Ballard.
“From 2002 until his recent retirement, he served as the Georgia Law Enforcement Coordinator for the Regional Organized Crime Information Center and was responsible for 330 member agencies. In that capacity, he taught classes at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the FBI National Academy, and the Georgia Law Enforcement Training Center.
“He is a Mason, a Shriner, a member of the First Baptist Church of Thomaston. He has a wife, three children and two grandchildren.
“Ladies and gentleman,” said Ballard, “I present to you the 2014 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Charles McMichen.”
Editor’s Note: More highlights from the Law Enforcement Banquet will be in Friday’s edition of The Thomaston Times.
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.