Albany -- Six Albany Police Officers, and members of the National Guard's 48th Brigade... said goodbye to their co-workers Friday. They leave for the Middle East next week.
Hugs, handshakes, words of encouragement, and some good natured ribbing. The Albany Police Department threw a party to wish their comrades God Speed.
Patrol Officer Ernest Thompson said "Getting to come back home and see the family and friends before we get sent off, it has been very helpful."
Six Albany Police Officers ship out Monday for Fort Stewart, and then on to Kuwait, and more than likely Iraq. Members of the 48th Brigade, the officers have been training for months. Cpl. Willie Bradford said "I feel very confident. We are all going to go over there, do our job, and all of us are going to return back home."
Now it's time to go. This farewell party was bittersweet, having to leave family and friends, but an important job to do. Patrol Officer Dramoski Franklin said "Keeping you guys safe. Keeping terrorists from coming over here, and ruining what freedom we have. Trying to fight for the freedom those people over there want."
Chief Bob Boren gave each of the Guardsmen a Teddy Bear and an Albany Police watch. "To know that we are thinking about them. Teddy bear, I told them they are leaving their family. To put the teddy bear in their backpack, as a reminder of their family."
The Department also renewed their pledge to look after the families of the Guardsmen, while they are gone. Sgt. Michael Persley said "I trust them and I love them, and they will do me right. They will."
Yellow ribbons decorate all the halls of the Police Department. They will remain until the six return from Iraq, probably in a year or two.
Also honored at the party, Dougherty County Sheriff's Deputy Reginald Jones, also a member of the 48th.