Atlanta officers recognized for bravery and service - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Atlanta officers recognized for bravery and service

The Atlanta Police Foundation awarded several officers Tuesday for their bravery and dedication to serving the community.

The awards came during the foundation's annual Crime is Toast Breakfast at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Officer Reggie Robinson was among the officers receiving the Purple Heart, an award presented to officers who have been seriously, critically or fatally injured, under honorable circumstances, while in direct performance of police duty.

Robinson was a 35-year-old rookie officer on January 11, 2013, when he confronted a suspected drug dealer who ran off. As Robinson chased him through an alley near Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard in Atlanta's West End, the suspect turned around and shot him in the face.

"I remembered one of my instructors in the academy saying, ‘Hey, just because you're shot doesn't mean you're going to die,'" Robinson recalled. "So I hurried up and got myself together, just grabbed my mouth and I took cover around the corner and pulled my weapon to wait for the suspect."

Robinson told CBS Atlanta News that when he realized he was bleeding heavily, he decided to seek help. He jumped over a fence and ran to a Krispy Kreme restaurant, which he knew was a good landmark where officers could quickly find him.

"Man they were there in like 30 seconds," he said. "It wasn't long at all."

Robinson was able to clearly describe the shooter. Within seconds, officers caught up with Frank Nance, 20, and arrested him.

Robinson would later learn that as the bullet entered his jaw, it ricocheted off his dental work and exited near his lip.

"It broke my jaw," he said. "I lost seven teeth."

Robinson expects doctors to clear him to return to work in a couple of weeks.

"I've had a lot of jobs here and there, but this is really fulfilling," Robinson said. "I plan to be here a long time."

Also receiving the Purple Heart were the following:

  • Officer Osbert Beckles – Beckles was parked on an exit ramp when his car was struck by a drunk driver attempting to exit the highway. The driver attempted to flee the scene on foot, but was quickly apprehended. Beckles received serious injuries including a collapsed lung and crushed pelvis.
  • Officer Richard Halford and Officer Shawn Smiley – Halford and Smiley lost their lives in the line of duty on November 12, 2012. They were flying a police department helicopter searching for a missing 9-year-old boy when the helicopter crashed into power lines.

Other award recipients are as follows:

  • Excellence in Crime Stoppers Award – Investigator Carrie Jones
  • Supervisor of the Year – Sgt. Bryant Burns
  • Officer of the Year – Officer Grady Goggins
  • Investigator of the Year – Investigator Kevin Leonpacher
  • Meritorious Service Award – Officer Ryan Jones
  • Judge Kaplan Community Service Award – The Zone 4 Crime Suppression Unit
  • The Dennis P. Mullen Lifetime Achievement Award – Sgt. Richard Straut
  • Department Commendation – Investigator Solomon Bibbs
  • COBRA Award – Zone 3

"They are the tip of the sword," said David Wilkinson, president and CEO of the Atlanta Police Foundation. "As you know, we spend a lot of time strategizing and planning and working toward building a security plan for this city. But these officers that go out on the street every day, they're the ones that make it happen."

Civilian award recipients are as follows:

  • Civilian Supervisor of the Year – Tamika Riggins
  • Civilian of the Year – Elizabeth Epsy, Deputy Manager of Public Affairs
  • Citizen of the Year Award – John Wolfinger

Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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