Dick Hand retiring after 52 years in law enforcement - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dick Hand retiring after 52 years in law enforcement

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –A man known for his leadership in the Atlanta Child Murders in the early 1980-s is retiring after 52-years as a police officer and prosecutor.

His colleagues call Dick Hand a "legend in Georgia law enforcement."

He worked his way up from police officer to chief of police to U-S Attorney.   Now serves as Dougherty County's Chief Assistant D.A.

74 year old Dick Hand is boxing up his office after nearly two decades as a Chief Assistant in the Dougherty D.A.'s office. One of his plaques is from the Investigators of the Atlanta Child Murders in the early 1980-s, the case he knows he will be best remembered for.

Hand said "Politics was a major part of it, just trying to handle that, and keep that off these people, so they could do their job."

Hand was the Director of Public Safety for DeKalb County when 29 young black men and children were killed in metro Atlanta from 1979 to 1981. Hand became the spokesperson as the murder cases gained international notoriety, and President Reagan sent federal money to stop the murders.

 Hand said "there were special units formed and task forces formed and federal money was involved. And the President was inquiring, the Attorney General was inquiring, the Governor was inquiring, and everybody else and his brother was involved in it."

23 year old Wayne Williams was convicted in the slaying of two young men in 1982, and sentenced to life. It was the first highly publicized CSI case, where carpet fibers led to his conviction.

Hand said "Forensics was involved through a medical examiner and the careful handling of the bodies and the crime scene technology. It developed a lot of things."

Hand started as a police officer in 1958, and has worked in almost every facet of law enforcement, from Police Chief to U.S. Attorney. Even his boss calls him a legend.

Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards said "We are really going his input and his great wealth of knowledge and experience."

Dick Hand says he looks forward to fishing, hunting and spare time with retirement. But he will still work occasionally with the D.A.'s office when called on, saying he loves helping the community and keeping it safe.

Hand says he has no doubt that Wayne Williams committed the two murders for which he was convicted, but he does not believe Williams is responsible for the 22 murders police blamed on him.

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