Sheriff Donnie Haralson obituary -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Sheriff Donnie Haralson obituary


Sheriff Donnie R. Haralson, 58, died Tuesday night, Mar. 4, 2014 at his residence following a lengthy battle against cancer.

Funeral services will be held at 4 p.m., Friday, Mar. 7, 2014 at the Cordele First Baptist Church where Donnie was a member and served as a Deacon. Burial will follow at Sunnyside Cemetery.

There will be no formal visitation; however those desiring to pay their respects to the sheriff may do so Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Cordele First Baptist Church.  

Donnie is survived by his wife: Peggy Slade Haralson of Arabi, Ga.; two daughters: Amanda (Tim) Hutchins of Cordele, Ga. and Crystal (T. J.) Griffin of Cordele, Ga.; two grandsons: Thomas Haralson Griffin and Eli Griffin; two sisters: Sharon (Larry) Baker and Kadron (Tom) Stephens both of Cordele, Ga.; and his nephew: Cory Stephens of Cordele, Ga.  

Donnie was born in Albany, Georgia at Phoebe Putney Hospital on Aug. 11, 1955 to the late W. R. Haralson and the late Bernice Watson Haralson. He was a lifelong resident of Cordele, Crisp County, Georgia. He began his law enforcement career in February 1977 as a Cordele Police Officer. He became Cordele's Chief of Police in 1985, appointed as interim sheriff of Crisp County and elected sheriff in 1988.  

Sheriff Haralson has served on numerous committees on both the local and state level. He served as President of the Georgia Sheriffs' Association and served on the board of directors for the GSA.

He served on the Georgia Public Safety Board of Directors. He presided as chairman of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council as well as chairman for the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council. In 1993 Haralson was elected by his peers as President of the Peace Officers Association of Georgia.  

On the local level, Sheriff Haralson was president of the Crisp County Community Council and served on the United Way Board. He is a 1977 Graduate of the Abraham Baldwin Regional Police Academy and a 1987 graduate of the Georgia Sheriffs Academy. Sheriff Haralson was a recipient of the Governor's Public Safety Award for his outstanding contributions to law enforcement in August of 2000.  

During his tenure as sheriff, he was successful in helping procure inmate labor to build a multi-million dollar recreation facility in Crisp County at a tremendous cost savings to the citizens. He was instrumental in acquiring a regional youth detention center in Cordele, helping to provide jobs for many in the community.

In addition to many other accomplishments, Sheriff Haralson was a proactive sheriff. Rather than responding to crime, Sheriff Haralson was geared to proactive law enforcement to prevent crime. He established many programs to teach personal safety; women's firearms familiarization classes; drug prevention programs; Junior deputy program; GED program for inmates; church services for inmates and numerous other programs that enhanced the quality of life for the citizens of Crisp County.  

Sheriff Donnie Haralson also served as Crisp County's Emergency Management Director. During the flood of 1994, Haralson received recognition for leading his community during the tragedy with only minor injuries and no loss of life. He was chosen as the recipient of the Cordele Crisp County Chamber of Commerce "This is Your Life" Award in appreciation for his service to Crisp County and its citizens.

He was awarded the Melvin Jones Foundation Award from Lions International.   Because of his determination to protect and serve, Haralson was nominated and chosen as the State of Georgia 2011 Sheriff of the Year. Donnie's dedication and distinguished law enforcement career brought him to be the longest sitting sheriff in the history of Crisp County.  

Haralson was the owner of Haralson Foods, Inc. dba Carter's Fried Chicken.   Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to make a memorial donation in Donnie's memory to the Georgia Sheriffs' Youth Homes.

Donations can be made online at, mailing to Memorial/Tribute Fund, Georgia Sheriff's Association, Georgia Sheriffs' Youth Homes, P O Box 1000, Stockbridge, GA 30281-8000 or by picking up a donation envelope at Hughes & Wright Funeral Home.

    Online condolences may be left at . Hughes & Wright Funeral Home has been entrusted with these arrangements.


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