Public Safety

Published on October 3rd, 2013 |

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Business group presents 3 public safety awards

The Buckhead Business Association presented its Public Safety Awards Thursday to Atlanta Police Zone 2 officer Terrance Epps, Fulton County Jail detention officer William Whitaker and firefighter Andre Rogers of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department during the associations quarterly luncheon meeting.

Epps was honored for arresting a suspect accused of burglarizing and robbing several

Buckhead Business Association President Brian Daughdrill, left,
helps present the Public Safety Award to Zone 2 APD officer
Terrance Epps, center, along with BBA vice president for public
safety Mark Shaver, during Thursday’s quarterly luncheon meeting.  

Buckhead residents during April through June, all of which occurred in apartment complexes and all had the door peepholes removed. Epps worked with the staff of the apartments to get available videos of a suspect.

In May a suspect entered an apartment where the victim was sleeping. The victim confronted the suspect, who then pulled a gun on him, threatened him and stole some items. The victim was able to work with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to produce a good sketch of the suspect which Epps distributed to the affected complexes. They were then able to obtain security video of the suspect entering an apartment and leaving with a gray bicycle.

On June 19, while driving to a meeting, Lt. Rodney Woody saw a man fitting the suspect’s description. He radioed Epps, who came and spoke with the suspect on Peachtree Road near the Westin hotel in Buckhead.

The suspect identified himself as Johnny Cleckley but said he had no ID on him. Epps radioed the dispatch operator with his name and the operator said there was a warrant out for Cleckley’s arrest.

Epps started to handcuff Cleckley, who struggled with Epps and pointed a handgun Epps, who drew his own gun and fired several shots at Cleckley striking him several times. Cleckley was arrested and transported to Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta with severe injuries, where he still remains.

Cleckley was positively identified by several victims and linked to several Buckhead crimes. He is a convicted felon who already has spent several years in prison and faces many more. 

Fulton County Sheriff’s Office detention officer William Whitaker, center,
receives his Public Safety Award from Daughdrill, left, and Shaver. 
Detention officer Whitaker of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office was honored for acting quickly Sept. 23 to arrest a dental assistant, who was working as a contractor at the Fulton County Jail, for smuggling contraband into the facility.

Whitaker, who joined the department in December, was monitoring the jail’s seventh floor, the maximum-security section, and noticed the woman went into a sanitation closet, which is not where the medical staff gets supplies and washes their hands. After the woman left the floor, Whitaker entered the closet and found a bag of marijuana, several cell phones and paper for rolling cigarettes inside.

During an interrogation by sheriff’s office investigators, the woman confessed to the crime. She faces possibly five years in prison on that count and also possible federal counts.

Whitaker’s actions both led to her arrest and helped determine how contraband enters the jail.

Atlanta Fire Rescue Station 23 firefighter Rogers, who has spent 11 years with the department and spent a year serving in the war zone in Iraq as a specialist in the Army, was honored for his overall service to Atlanta Fire Rescue and volunteer work.  

Firefighter Andre Rogers, of Atlanta Fire
Rescue Station 23, was dressed in his
Honor Guard uniform to receive his award
at the BBA luncheon on Thursday. 
Rogers has volunteered with several organizations, including the Muscular Dystrophy Association Children’s Camp, Big Brothers Big Sisters Atlanta, Life Skills Mentoring Program and the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department’s Honor Guard. He helped established the Story Time at Station 23 since moving to that station in March.

He also volunteered to work in the EMS Section and has served a 40-hour work week to back up Lt. Kenny Fears while he is on vacation, as well as volunteering for events such as the Executive Development Institute Conference, off-duty training and out-of-class job assignments.

During a community event with Engine 23, a mother and her 10-year-old child approached Rogers with concerns about child continuing to get in trouble. Rogers saw that as an opportunity t help the young man and counseled him change is path in life. The mother was very appreciative.

Mark Shaver, the association’s vice president for public safety, presented the awards. “These folks literally put their lives on the line for us every day,” Shaver said. “The least we can do is express our appreciation to them for what they do.”


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