HOMERVILLE, GA (WALB) - A black ribbon hung on the door of the Homerville Police Department Thursday and officers were wearing black bands over their badges to pay tribute to Chief Mark Register, a 26 year veteran with the department.
"He took a small department with very few officers, brought it up to a more professional office within the restrictions he had placed on him," said Homerville Police Department Cpt. Carlos Whitley.
Chief Register was diagnosed with colon cancer in November 2013. He had surgery to remove the cancer, and that's when doctors noticed spots on his liver, which turned out to be cancerous. As of Thursday, Captain Whitley was acting chief until the city council appointed a new chief.
He said Chief Register continued to work, even through his cancer treatments. "He worked hard," Cpt. Whitley said. "He cared about his officers. He would go to bat for them and they knew it." But around the beginning of February, things took a turn for the worse and Chief Register was put on Hospice care.
Cpt. Whitley said the news of his death on Tuesday was still shocking even though he knew it was coming. "Even though I knew that it was only a matter of time, still had to sit down, take a few minutes," Cpt. Whitley admitted.
Homerville's Mayor Pro temp, Willie Hardee, said Chief Register was a good friend and was always willing to help others."Very willing to help whoever he could," Hardee emphasized.
Homerville city council was expected to meet on February 26th to discuss plans for finding a new police chief.