CUMMING - Three Forsyth County sheriff's deputies were recently recognized by Sheriff Ted Paxton for going beyond the call of duty in performing their jobs as law enforcement officers.
In a ceremony at the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office North Precinct, Deputy Sheriff William V. McConnell, Jr. was presented with the Medal of Valor. This is the second highest award presented to an individual by the agency.
In May, McConnell was dispatched to a 911 hang-up call. As he was en route to the call, he was told that that the call was actually a medical call. The caller stated that the 58-year-old man was gasping for air and having a possible allergic reaction. When Deputy McConnell arrived on the scene, he found that the man was not breathing. He began administering CPR and continued even after other rescue crews had arrived. The man regained a pulse and was transported to the hospital.
"Deputy Sheriff McConnell is a wonderful example of the type of men and women we have working here at the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office," said Sheriff Paxton. "His actions make us all proud on a daily basis."
In addition to Deputy McConnell's recognition, Deputy First Class Chris Barger received a commendation for volunteering his time to transport an inmate from a state prison in Milledgeville to DeKalb Medical Center to visit his dying mother.
In a letter written by the dying woman's niece, she said, "I know it meant the world to her to be able to say goodbye to her son before she passed. I can't speak highly enough of the generosity of Officer Barger, or his willingness to go help a family he didn't know during this time. I was very surprised that he also came to the funeral home to pay his respects. In a time when so many officers get a bad reputation, Officer Barger definitely stands out as one of the good guys."
Also recognized was Deputy Sheriff Anthony Hodgkins. As Hodgkins was on his way back to Forsyth County from transporting a juvenile to Gainesville Regional Youth Detention Center, he saw a woman screaming for help on Jesse Jewell Parkway in Gainesville. The woman was an off-duty Hall County deputy and she was trying to apprehend a man who was walking down the center of the roadway. The man had stated that someone was going to have to kill him to stop him. With Hodgkins' assistance, the two officers took the man to the ground after a brief scuffle. It was determined that the man was mentally unstable and had recently been released from a mental facility.
"Deputy Hodgkins' immediate action to help preserve the peace outside of his jurisdiction resulted in a possible dangerous suspect being apprehended in a very timely manner," Paxton said.
"I am very proud of the actions of all three of these deputies," Paxton added. "They are examples to many others of what public service is all about."
McConnell has been with with the Sheriff's Office since October 2010, Barger February 2001 and Hodgkins since February 2012. All three deputies work in the Uniform Patrol Division and are assigned to the North Precinct.