By Elaine Rackley
Two veteran Henry County police officers are now sergeants.
Detective Matthew Beaver, and Officer Jason Duffey, were recently promoted by Henry Police Chief Keith Nichols. "Sgt. Beaver and Sgt. Duffey are both very deserving of their promotions," said Nichols.
"Prior to their promotions, Sgt. Beaver was doing a commendable job as a newly promoted detective, and Sgt., Duffey was continually taking on a tremendous amount of tasks as an officer in our COPS Community Oriented Police Service (C.O.P.S.) unit," Nichols added.
"Both of them have been exemplary officers, and I believe that, if they continue on the career paths that they are currently on, they will help make the Henry County Police Department one of the finest agencies in the state."
Beaver and Duffey said policing in Henry is different from where both began their careers.
Beaver, of Jonesboro, began as an officer with the DeKalb County Police Department in 2004. He came to Henry County in 2007, and was promoted to detective in 2010.
Beaver said he likes the pace of life in Henry. "DeKalb County was very busy," he said. "There were days I didn't have time to go through a drive-thru to get lunch, I was so busy," he said. Another noticeable difference, he said, is the relationship among officers in Henry County. "The camaraderie here is much better," said Beaver. "We are like a large family."
Beaver, 39, said he is looking forward to his new responsibilities, and said he would like to pattern his leadership style after his former sergeant, Patrick Snook. "I want to be able to give the officers anything they need, to help them do, and complete their jobs," said Beaver. "Sgt. Snook gave us the tools we needed. For instance, for me, it was the GCIC [laptop access]."
Georgia Crime Information Center laptops enable officers to obtain identification information quickly. Beaver, who describes himself as a team player, credits police teamwork in the recent apprehension of two home-invasion suspects. "We caught them shortly after the crime," he said. "We were able to identify them, get warrants, do a photo lineup, and arrest them. It was a joint, team effort. It made me feel good."
Beaver has been married to his wife, Kim, for 17 years. They have a daughter, Morgan, 13, and a son, Aaron, 7.
Duffey, 32, is a seven-year veteran with Henry police. His law enforcement career started in the Moultrie Police Department, where he worked for two years.
One of the changes that greeted Duffey was Henry's traffic. "The amount of traffic here, and the severity of the car accidents -- 50 percent of our calls are traffic-related," he said. "I've never saw anything like this in Moultrie."
Duffey, who serves in public relations, with the C.O.P.S. unit, said he sees his promotion as an indicator of his accomplishments, and the department's trust in his judgment. The C.O.P.S. unit oversees several key programs in the department, including bicycle safety, career day, the Citizen Police Academy, the Special Operations Division, Project Lifesaver, and the Women's Defense Class.
"The best thing about becoming a sergeant is, I will be able to delegate some of the work to other officers," he said. "No one can take on the whole load." Duffey pointed out that the women's self-defense class and the Citizen Police Academy are two of the department's most popular programs.
"We have all types of women in our women self-defense class," he said. "I ask the older ones to wrap the expensive jewelry they are wearing in tape, to perform some of the things we teach." His goal, he said, is to have all of the women complete the class with confidence they can defend themselves.
Because the C.O.P.S. unit is community oriented, Duffey has taught, and worked, with many of Henry's residents. "I've learned to be more respectful and professional, because you never know who you may need, or who may need you," he said.
Duffey has been married to his wife, Holly, for 7 years. They are expecting their first child, in May.