Lowndes Co. officials prepare for funeral of fallen deputy

Lowndes Co. officials prepare for funeral of fallen deputy
Deputy Chris Butler funeral processional route (Source: Google Maps)
Deputy Chris Butler funeral processional route (Source: Google Maps)

LOWNDES CO., GA (WALB) - It's a tough day for many South Georgia officers and deputies as they grieve for a fallen hero.

But agencies in Lowndes County are leaning on each other and lending the sheriff's office a helping hand.

Thursday, he was laid to rest.

More than a dozen Valdosta police officers to hold all the rights of Lowndes County Deputies so that deputies could attend the service.

"Chris, he was just all heart. He was a great officer, he had a great personality, everybody loved him," said Sheriff Ashley Paulk.

Black bands stretch across badges bearing the number 1198, Butler's badge number.

Sgt. Matt Bannister was on Deputy Butler's first shift, but never expected to be on his last one too.

"As a supervisor - somebody - you may have to go make a notification to the family. It=t's not something you ever try to think about cause it's not something that you want to happen," said Bannister.

He says the job won't be the same without Butler

"It was just something that was born into him and he really loved it," said Bannister.

Born into him, because Deputy Butler's father worked for the Valdosta Police Department for many years before he died.

"We saw Chris grow up," said Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress.

His absence is felt across the entire law enforcement community

"It's a sad day for all of us," said Childress.

So officers stepped in, to let deputies step out and say goodbye one last time.

Badge number 1198. Fallen, but never forgotten.

The last time the two agencies worked together for a funeral, county deputies helped city police officers so they could attend a funeral for Deputy Butler's father.

The service was held at Morningside Baptist Church at 4, and then the burial followed at McLane Riverview Memorial Gardens.

The service lasted about an hour, and the procession started around 5 p.m.

Officials asked drivers to avoid the procession route during that time.

Officials said that at least 100 vehicles could participated in the procession.

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