Moultrie PD reacts to fatal shootings in Americus

Moultrie PD reacts to fatal shootings in Americus
Jody Smith (left) and Nick Smarr (Source: Facebook)
Jody Smith (left) and Nick Smarr (Source: Facebook)
Major Tonero Bender
Major Tonero Bender

MOULTRIE, GA (WALB) - The deaths of officers Jody Smith and Nick Smarr bring a total of seven police officer-deaths in Georgia this year.

That's a 200 percent increase in the past two years, according to the GBI.

Moultrie Police are praying for their fellow officers in Americus and are using this tragedy as a reminder to stay vigilant.

It's no doubt the tragic deaths of officers Smith and Smarr have caused heartbreak among the Americus community, but their deaths have touched so many other people in our region, including officers at the Moultrie Police Department.

"At any moment, things can change," said Major Tonero Bender.

The officers' deaths have caused a deep sorrow that is being felt throughout south Georgia and the entire nation.

"It's brothers in law enforcement," said Major Bender. "Any time someone gets hurt in the law enforcement community, it affects us all."

He said Wednesday's incident proves just how unpredictable domestic violence calls can be.

"The dynamics of a domestic violence call are from one extreme to the other.  There's no cookie-cutter way to respond to them," said Major Bender.

He said dispatchers in Moultrie send two officers to domestic violence calls, because of the unknown.

The importance of training and maintaining focus are aspects Major Bender wants to instill in his officers now more than ever.

"These are perilous times sometimes, so we have to remind them to stay focused, keep their mind on their job, and don't drift off," he said. "Because at any particular moment could be that moment where you'll need all of your senses and to be focused on threats around you."

And as friends, family, and fellow officers mourn their deaths, Major Bender wants Americus to know the Moultrie Police Department is there for them.

"We know the pain will never go away," he said, "but anything we can do to just ease the pain a little bit, that's what we're here for."

Major Bender and Americus Police Chief Mark Scott were fellow police officers in Thomasville years ago.

Just another example of how law enforcement officers, especially in our region, are one, big family.

Copyright 2016 WALB.  All rights reserved.