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January 8, 2009 Issue

Wadley Chief Resigns
A unit of achievement
Gunfire breaks up post club gathering

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Wadley Chief Resigns

By Carol McLeod
Staff writer

Paul Jordan resigned as police chief of Wadley effective Dec. 31, Wadley Mayor Herman Baker said Monday.

Baker said Jordan turned in his resignation about a week ago.

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“He went to the doctor and this is when he made the decision,” the mayor said. “The person that he had next to him is Wesley (Lewis). He’s carrying on until we advertise and hire another chief. We have to advertise. But Wesley was second in command.”

Baker said Lewis will be acting chief until a permanent chief is hired.

“We can’t hire another chief until we advertise,” he said, adding he has not had the chance to notify the council members. “I think the (safety) committee knows.”

As of Friday, Jan. 2, neither Councilman Randall Jones, the chairman of the safety committee, nor Councilman Albert Samples, the other committee member, knew of Jordan’s resignation, they said.

Councilwoman Edie Pundt, who is also the mayor pro tem, said Friday she did not know Jordan had resigned either.

Councilwoman Beth Moore said Monday that she had been notified on Wednesday, Dec. 31, by Wadley’s city clerk, Sallie Adams.

A call to Councilman John Maye was unreturned as of press time.

“It sort of took me by surprise,” Baker said of Jordan’s resignation. “I know he’d been to the doctor. All of us go to the doctor now and then. It sort of took me by surprise.”

Baker said he swore Lewis in as the acting chief of police.

“You need to swear him in if he’s going to be in charge,” Baker said. “He’s not the chief. He was second in command.”

Jordan’s written resignation stated he resigned because of “unforeseen circumstance,” Adams said Monday.

Calls to Jordan were unreturned as of press time.

Jordan became Wadley’s chief of police in February of 2003, Adams said.

Lewis started working at the city’s police department in 1997, he said.

Before that, Lewis worked for the state’s department of corrections as a supervisor. He attended the police academy in April of 1998. He left the Wadley Police Department in 2000 and worked for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

“I came back to Wadley PD in 2003,” Lewis said. “I came back as a patrolman.” Lewis was promoted through the ranks, first as an investigator, then to sergeant and finally to patrol commander.

“I was patrol commander over investigations and road patrol. That's when I made lieutenant,” he said.

Lewis said Monday he intends to submit his application for the position as chief when the council begins taking applications.

Lewis is married to Hope Lewis, they have two sons, 9-year-old Carlos Stone and 5-year-old Cardarius Stone.



A unit of achievement

By James Watson
Apprentice

For the first time in the history of Jefferson County High School, the school’s Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps earned the Unit Achievement Status for the 2007-2008 school year.

“That year was definitely the best we’ve had in 13 years,” said Senior Naval Science Instructor Commander Charles Lewis.

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The NJROTC unit did several things in order to earn this prestigious award. Last school year, the unit had distinguished community service such as helping in the Special Olympics. They also participated in three Jefferson County Christmas parades, by giving drill demonstrations for Jefferson County residents.

In addition to community service, the unit’s teams stepped up their game this past year. The orienteering, or land navigation team, took several top places in area competitions. Cadets Jacob Wasden, 11 grade and Evan Boulineau, 10 grade each took individual awards at area competitions as well, claiming the fifth and fourth place spots in various events. The team as a whole took second place at Mistletoe State Park on Yellow Course. Later on in the year, the team traveled to the Area 12 Orienteering Championships and took fifth place on Orange Course as a whole.

The unit also took various field trips during the year. In the spring, several cadets joined cadets from other area units and traveled to Parris Island, S.C., a Marine recruit training depot, where they underwent a three-day training course much like Marine recruits at boot camp. They also visited the home of Alexander Stephens, the vice-president of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

In the spring block, when the unit had its Annual Inspection, cadets in the unit exceeded expectations from years past and met goals that were set.

“The unit is really on the upswing,” said Lewis. “We had really good leadership both semesters.”

Thursday, Nov. 20, the unit had its Annual Inspection for the 2008-2009 school year. Cmdr. Rustie Hibbard, former Area 12 manager, inspected each cadet in the unit on uniform sharpness, naval knowledge and drill display.

The inspection also covered financial management, supply inventory, unit administration and a unit presentation prepared and presented by the cadet staff. Overall, the unit did very well on the inspection, earning a Bravo Zulu (Well done) streamer.

Cmdr. Hibbard said the unit looked the best he’s seen it and found no discrepant areas.

During the inspection, several cadets earned awards of distinction and were presented with them during the ceremony.

Cadet Brandon Hicks was awarded the Iron Man award for scoring the highest on the unit’s Semester Physical Fitness Test. Cadet Joshua Boulineau, 12 grade, earned the Top Gun award for scoring the highest in the unit’s Area 12 shooting match and the Braniac Award for scoring the highest in the unit’s Area 12 academic exam. Cadet Amanda Messer, 10 grade, was awarded the Cadet of the Quarter award in recognition of her excellent performance and contribution to the unit. Cadets Wasden, Messer, Angela Lawrence, 10 grade, Troy Dishmond, 12 grade, Macy Purvis, 9 grade, Khadijah Tucker, 9 grade and Ca’Dejah Smith, 9 grade, were awarded medals for Exemplary Personal Appearance. Cadets Joshua Boulineau, Messer and Camelia Drayton, 10 grade, were awarded special Bravo Zulu coins for their outstanding preparation and performance.

“Chief (Petty Officer Joseph) Cable and I could not be prouder of our cadet staff and the outstanding leadership they have provided this school year,” said Cmdr. Lewis. “We look forward to even bigger and better things in the future. NJROTC’s foundation stones are leadership, followship and citizenship. All students can benefit from our curriculum. There is no military obligation attached.”

The NJROTC unit’s motto is, “Naval Junior ROTC-Developing Leaders for Life.”



Gunfire breaks up post club gathering

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Wadley police officers arrested a 22-year-old man Sunday, Dec. 28, for a shooting that occurred at the Shake Rag/Waffle King parking lot that morning.

David McVey, an investigator with Wadley PD, said after a club on Lincoln Park Road closes, customers leave there and go to the Shake Rag/Waffle King, a convenience store in Wadley that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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“When you have all these people, it’s just a matter of the police officers trying to disperse the crowd,” McVey said.

About 3 a.m., McVey said there had been a couple of fights and an officer was given a description of an individual who had a gun.

“From what I understand from the report, the officer approached the individual and he ran,” McVey said. “There was another fight, the officer turned to help the other officer. The subject who had fired a weapon had gotten in a car.”

McVey said according to the officer’s report, the officer, Eric Hadden, went outside after being told about the person with a gun.

There was a large crowd outside and Hadden asked who had the gun. Hadden was told a black male wearing a white T-shirt and or pants that was standing in the middle of the parking lot, McVey said.

Hadden ordered the suspect to show his hands. At that point, Hadden drew his weapon and the man started running toward Highway 78. At the edge of the parking lot, the man stopped and turned toward the officer and the crowd and raised his hand under his shirt. The officer’s report stated he heard a gun fire and could see gunpowder smoke under the man’s shirt, McVey said.

The man then started running across the highway and went to the edge of the woods. When Hadden reached the edge of the parking lot, he heard Officer Dwayne Cowart who was in the parking lot call for assistance because of a fight. Hadden went back to assist Cowart.

McVey said as Hadden reached Cowart’s location, the crowd was dispursing. As the two officers began to search for the man who ran, Hadden noticed a burgundy vehicle stop on Highway 78 at Belle Street. Hadden saw a man get into the vehicle before it left the intersection. The two officers pursued the vehicle and were able to stop it. Hadden identified the passenger, 22-year-old Darrick Lake Jr. from Millen, as the one who had fired the shot.

The driver, Brandon Lake also of Millen, was given a ticket for no insurance on his vehicle.

Darrick Lake Jr. was charged with aggravated assault, obstruction or hindering law enforcement officers, possession of arms by convicted felons and first offender probation violation.




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