Albany Police Department welcomes new officers, promotes 18 during ceremony

·3 min read

Jul. 9—ALBANY — When family members pinned on badges and chevrons for eight new Albany Police Department officers during a Thursday-night recognition ceremony, those recent academy graduates were prepared to take their place on the streets.

The ceremony, held at the Albany Municipal Auditorium, also included the announcement of promotions for an additional 18 officers. Eight officers were promoted to corporal, seven to sergeant and three to lieutenant.

Kiwanis Manson, who was promoted to corporal, has been with the department for four years and was excited about her new rank.

"I enjoy serving this community," the Dawson native said. "At the department, we get a lot of great training. It's just a great department to be in."

The importance of family was stressed repeatedly during the event, including speaker Maj. Gen. Joseph Shrader, commanding general of Marine Corps Logistics Command, who is wrapping up a career of more than four decades in a few days.

"You couldn't do it without (family)," he said.

The military and police serve similar roles in their various uniforms, the general said, sprinkling his speech with experiences from his time in the military and in southwest Georgia.

"We share a love of service, service to this country, our community, to the good order and discipline of the state," he said. "In the community, people depend on police officers to enforce that order and discipline.

"I want to thank you for your service."

Shrader also gave his audience an overview of leadership qualities he learned during his long military career as both a subordinate and a commander.

His remarks on humility were illustrated by a story from his first days in southwest Georgia. Topping a hill in Pelham and driving 65 miles per hour in a 45 zone, he spotted a police car and was quickly pulled over by the officer.

Shrader handed the officer his license — and his military identification card — and mentioned he was a new officer in command in Albany, confident that he would escape without a citation. The officer returned the ID card and took his license to the police car.

When he returned he had a ticket and a suggestion that Shrader slow down so he would be around to command his Marines for a long time to come. The experience cost him more than $200.

"Leadership is a difficult thing to talk about, because it is an art and a science," he said. "You have to be a good communicator. I know you've all heard that to be a good communicator, you have to be a good listener.

"You must be humble. You have got to have humility. A leader must be present. You can't lead from behind a desk."

Among the special recognitions for the evening, Police Chief Michael Persley called out Lt. Victor Camp and Assistant Chief Derrell Smith, who are both departing.

Camp, a veteran of 32 years, is retiring, and Smith is leaving to take on the role of chief at a college campus in Florida.

Persley recounted his first encounter with Vick. As a young man, Persley said he was leaving a restaurant in the early morning hours and Camp followed him for a while. Feeling nervous, Persley turned on his right blinker and made a left, and then he saw blue lights.

He got away without a ticket that night, he said.

"Vick, it's 32 years and six days," the chief said of Camp's time in uniform. "From me and the department to you, we want to wish you the best in your future endeavors. I also wanted to take the opportunity to recognize Derrell Smith for 35 1/2 years."

Officer of the year Christopher Oakes, and civilians of the year Fontashia Thurmond, who was not present, and Deandra Francis, who were given their awards earlier in the year at an Albany City Commission meeting, also were recognized.