Upson County was out in force at District Attorney Scott Ballard’s 8th Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Banquet, held May 15 at the First Baptist Church of Fayetteville. In addition to having two officers among the finalists for Officer of the Year, Upson County provided a member of the Color Guard, had a retired officer receive a Lifetime Achievement award, and had two fifth grade students who provided artwork and an essay for the program.
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. Landon is the daughter of Christen Brown and Mark Davis. Lauren is the daughter of Denise and Scott McDaniel. Her father is a Meriwether County Sheriff’s Deputy. Below is a portion of her essay:
“What would you do if everyone went chaotic? Good thing we have law enforcement officers, right? Law enforcement officers need to have special qualities, need to provide safety for the community, and need to be able to prevent chaos.”
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 were Sheriff’s Captain Ralph Searcy and State Patrol Trooper Mitch Day of Post 26 in Thomaston. Retired GBI agent Charles McMichen of Thomaston received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to the people of Georgia in almost 50 years in law enforcement.
Sheriff’s Captain Ralph Searcy was nominated by Upson County Sheriff Dan Kilgore. His nomination reads:
Ralph Searcy is a Captain with the Upson County Sheriff’s Department. He began his career with the Sheriff’s Department in 1979 as a 17-year-old high school student and has faithfully served the citizens of Upson County for nearly 35 years. Over the course of that career, Captain Searcy has served as a jailer, a dispatcher, a deputy sheriff, a shift supervisor, an investigator, and as a jail administrator.
He has made a lifetime commitment to his community and the Upson County Sheriff’s Department. His supervisor writes that Captain Searcy quietly and confidently performs his duty on a daily basis with absolute competence and without complaint. He is totally dedicated to the Sheriff’s Department. He mentors new hires as they progress to become competent law enforcement officers. Without his loyalty, Upson County would suffer greatly.
In addition to his commitment to law enforcement, Captain Searcy is also a pastor at Lincoln Park AME Church. He lives in Thomaston with his wife Emma and they have a grown daughter. He is one of 13 siblings and has been a lifetime resident of Upson County.
Georgia State Trooper Mitch Day was nominated by his Post 26 commander. His nomination reads:
TFC2 Mitch Day is employed with the Georgia State Patrol, where he has served since 2005. After graduating from Trooper School, Trooper Day was assigned to Post 24 in Newnan, where he worked until transferring to Post 26 in Thomaston. He has worked at that post since 2009. After graduating from high school, Trooper Day joined the military and served in the United States Marine Corps, where he took part in Operation “Provide Promise” in Bosnia. He is also a veteran of the United States Army Reserve, where he served tours in Operation “Noble Eagle,” Operation “Enduring Freedom,” and Operation “Iraqi Freedom.” TFC2 Day is a recipient of the Bronze Star Service Medal and a Combat Action Badge. Before joining the Georgia State Patrol, TFC2 Day worked at the Georgia Department of Corrections in Jackson, Georgia for eight years.
TFC2 Day’s supervisor described Day as having an exemplary work ethic and stated that he “comes to work every day wanting to help the citizens of Georgia in every aspect that he can.” In addition to his duties as a TFC2, Day serves as an active Field Training Officer, training Trooper Cadets from 4 to 6 weeks and instilling in them the values necessary to become great troopers. TFC2 Day issued over 1,700 courtesy warnings as compared to over 600 citations in 2013. During that year, he also made 26 D.U. I. arrests, and in order to increase his awareness in the area of D.U.I. enforcement, successfully completed the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement Class. Through this service and his conduct, TFC2 Day demonstrates the core values of the Georgia State Patrol by this ability to be very professional when the need arises, but to also show compassion and a relaxed, comical side when called for by the situation.
TFC2 Day is a native of Upson County, Georgia. He participates every year in the Marine Corps’ “Toys For Tots” campaign and works diligently to collect money and toys for the needy children in his area. TFC2 Day has two girls, ages 11 and 13.
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.