ELLIJAY, Ga. – “It’s easy to stand up and be the leader of an agency that is doing so much positive every day,” said Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson on February 7, 2019, as he honored members of his staff.
Emphasizing how much his staff and employees help to make his position easier, Nicholson offered thanks for people who have “turned a job into a profession.”
The awards night saw several GCSO employees and even some officers from Ellijay Police Department honored from recent events.
Nicholson went on to note that discussions and debates among the Command Staff for these awards is one of the hardest discussions he has. He said that so much has changed since he started his time as Sheriff. With increasing issues and dangers in the profession, he took extra effort to express how much he cares and concerns himself over protecting the safety of officers as they perform their duties.
The first award came with from Sid Turner and Jared Ogden of the Sons of the American Revolution who presented their Sons of the American Revolution Commendation Medal to Sergeant Jason Reed.
Turner said, “Sergeant Reed started his career with Gilmer County
Sheriff Nicholson presented the remaining awards for the Sheriff’s Office.
Sarah Raynes received the Communications Officer of the Year award.
Nicholson commented on how upbeat and energetic she has been in 2018 including a jarring move from day shift to night shift to fill a need in the department. He went on to note that her attitude throughout all of the positions hardships and trials makes her a pleasant dispatcher and great worker.
Detective Jeffrey Shelton received the Detective of the Year award.
Nicholson shared the words he received about Shelton saying it was his tenaciousness and his attitude as he was assigned several cases that blew up into much larger ordeals than originally expected. Through these cases, he continued his efforts, “sticking with it” as Nicholson stated.
In a position like Detective, Nicholson said certain cases can be very easy. But, in one day, they can become an investigation spanning several generations.
Corporal Tommy Humphries received the Deputy of the Year award.
Nicholson spoke about Humphries’ specialized talents as Deputy able to go to neighbors dispute, mediate the process, settle the issue, and be invited back for coffee later.
The effort and the nature of a person required to see that kind of success in the role of Deputy is an indispensable member of the office.
Nicholson said that dealing with tense situations is part of the job that Deputies must deal with, but handling those issues so well that you’re invited back, “That’s a good Deputy Sheriff.”
Lieutenant James Knight received the Court Services Deputy of the Year award.
Nicholson stated that most people don’t understand all the work that goes
Kim Rogers received the Civilian Employee of the Year award.
Nicholson admitted the excessive work that gets put on the civilian employees that the office has saying, “They do a lot of work, they give above and beyond. They keep the agency running straight. They keep the agency in good graces with the District Attorney’s Office by providing reports. They keep the jail records straight. They keep bonds straight. They keep the money we take in. They keep everything going in the right direction.”
Nicholson went on to note the Rogers came to the Sheriff’s Office to fill the gap of a big role. She took the spot to a new level in everything she keeps track of. He noted the extra work she has taken in since joining the office and rolling with everything asked of her.
The final award of the night actually hosted several officers and deputies as Nicholson presented Combat Citations along with a ribbon, to be worn on their uniforms, for those involved in the November 6, 2018, incident.
Those receiving the Combat Citation included Ellijay Police Officer Trevor McClure and Sergeant Aaron Mashburn and Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office’s Deputy First Class Lesse Sippel, Corporal Gene Hefner, Sergeant Daniel King, and Lieutenant Joshua Chancey.
These men and women served honorably in the face of danger and threat to their lives this night. Nicholson delivered the award saying, “On November 6, 2018… Members of the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office and the Ellijay Police Department responded to Corals Lane in reference to a man with a gun call. As officers approached the location, a known violent felon, armed with a pistol, attempted to ambush them. When the subject refused to drop the weapon and pointed it at officers while shouting his intent to shoot them, deadly force was employed to protect themselves and the citizens, who were in the residence, from death or harm. The officers’ actions during this life-threatening incident are to be commended.”
There were also two awards not delivered as the recipients were not available at the time of the awards ceremony.
Kurtis Parks received the Detention Officer of the Year award.
Deputy Joshua Easley received the Student Resource Officer of the Year award.
After combing through the Lawsuit filed by Terry Cantrell, FYN takes a closer look at the Police Report and Dash Cam Footage of the involved incident.
The Incident Report filed with the Police states that Officer Brady Dover was patrolling down River Street when he noticed a dark in color pickup truck fail to maintain its lane by crossing over the fog line and partially into a parking lot. As he followed the vehicle, he initiated a traffic stop, activating his blue lights.
According to the report, after the driver failed to stop, he followed him onto North Avenue in Downtown Ellijay, and then onto McCutchen Street in front of the Ellijay Elementary School and Ellijay Primary School. At this point the driver dramatically increased his speed to a point where Officer Dover had to increase to 55 mph to avoid losing the suspect.
One can see in the dash-cam footage, as the suspect came off the bridge on McCutchen Street, the suspect nearly ran head-on into another vehicle exiting Harrison Park before traveling through the field and crashing into a small creek on the east side of the park.
An Accident Report also indicates he struck two wooden posts that blocked vehicles from entering the field.
The incident report states the suspect exited his vehicle on foot, at which point Officer Dover pursued the suspect, yelling at him to stop.
Pursuing the suspect through the wooded area, a field, and back onto McCutchen Street, Officer Dover once pulled his firearm after noticing “a large knife on his side.” Yelling at him again to stop, the suspect continued fleeing. Continuing his pursuit, the report states Officer Dover heard a second officer, Sergeant Brian Troglin, “give a loud verbal command.”
Sgt. Troglin’s report states that he noticed “a knife approximately 6″ in length on his right hip in a case,” emerged from his vehicle, and yelled, “hold up” at the suspect.
The report also states Sgt. Troglin saw Officer Trevor McClure tackle the suspect with a shoulder tackle.
Officer McClure’s report stated:
AS I QUICKLY CLOSED DISTANCE BETWEEN MYSELF AND MR. CANTRELL, I HEARD SGT. TROGLIN YELL, “WATCH OUT FOR THAT KNIFE,” AND OBSERVED THE KNIFE ON MR. CANTRELL’S RIGHT HIP. I SLOWED DOWN, SLIGHTLY, AND REACHED FOR MY SERVICE WEAPON. AT THIS TIME I WAS APPROXIMATELY FIVE TO SIX FEET FROM MR. CANTRELL’S LOCATION. AS HE TURNED TO FACE ME, I REALIZED THAT I WAS TOO CLOSE TO ATTEMPT TO STOP AND DRAW MY WEAPON. IN ORDER TO PREVENT MR. CANTRELL FROM CONTINUING TO FLEE OR ATTEMPTING TO DRAW HIS KNIFE, I DELIVERED A SHOULDER TACKLE, WRAPPING MY ARMS AROUND MR. CANTRELL’S BACK, AND TOOK HIM TO THE GROUND. I IMMEDIATELY TURNED MR. CANTRELL INTO THE PRONE AND BEGAN HANDCUFFING HIM. AS I TURNED HIM, I NOTICED THAT HIS BODY WAS LIMP AND THAT HE WAS BLEEDING FROM THE BACK OF HIS HEAD. AFTER HANDCUFFING MR. CANTRELL, I SECURED THE KNIFE FROM IT’S SHEATH ON HIS BELT AND HANDED IT TO SGT. TROGLIN.
A second dash-cam footage shows the officer tackling the suspect to the ground, who was then identified as Terry Cantrell.
Sgt. Troglin’s Report states he noticed Cantrell’s head bleeding, called for an ambulance, and instructed Officer McClure to “get the male off his back, put him on his side, and secure his neck.”
According to photographs of the scene, Cantrell had beer cans in the vehicle. He also registered a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.139 according to GBI Crime Lab results by Gas Chromatography.
FYN also noted seven citations from the incident including Striking a fixed object, Reckless driving, Driving while License was Suspended/Revoked, DUI, Failure to stop at a Stop/Yield sign, Failure to Maintain Lane, and Fleeing/Attempting to elude Police.
ELLIJAY, GA – A lawsuit has been filed against the City of Ellijay claiming excessive force by a City Police Officer.
According to the filing by Terry Cantrell, the police attempted to stop his vehicle on June 16, 2015 as he was driving in Ellijay, Ga. As the filing states, he left his vehicle, proceeding on foot. With the officers in pursuit, Cantrell’s lawsuit claims he suddenly threw his hands up to surrender and was tackled to the ground, at which point his head struck the pavement.
Quoting the lawsuit filed, Cantrell claims, “As a direct result of Defendants’ unlawful conduct, Plaintiff has suffered actual physical and emotional injuries, and other damages and losses…”
Cantrell filed his lawsuit against the City of Ellijay, Ellijay Police Chief Edward Lacey, III, and Officer Trevor McClure. Cantrell claims that as he fled police and was tackled, he was unconscious on the ground and was later put on life-flight to Atlanta Medical Center where he claims he was in a coma for 12 days and under medical supervision for 22 days.
Complaints against the City and Officers include “Excessive Force in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, Deliberately Indifferent Policies, Practices, Customs, Training, and Supervision in violation of the Fourth, Fourteenth, and First Amendments, Failure to Render Aid, Breach of Fiduciary Duties, Battery, and Negligence, among others.
Cantrell also claims this is not the first time the Officer has used excessive force in his career.
The lawsuit holds claims for both Punitive Damages and Attorney’s Fees for Cantrell. In a notice to the City of Ellijay, Cantrell’s Lawyer George Weaver, of the Law Office of George W. Weaver, claims the medical expenses amounted over $350,000 and continue to accrue daily. The notice did offer a settlement to the City of Ellijay in the amount of $1,100,000.
The Gilmer High School Bobcats senior class has had nine different athletes sign scholarships to continue their sporting careers at the collegiate level. A brief ceremony was held to honor eight of the nine; Marlen Hensley later signed a baseball scholarship to play for Georgia Highlands. (more…)
The Gilmer High School golf team (Boys) won against every opponent they faced this week, en route to a 5-0 record. The first two matches were shortened due to darkness, but Gilmer’s light shined bright. (more…)