Wednesday, April 1, 2009

An impressive Dunwoody police debut - Crier

by Dick Williams of the Crier

The 40 officers and eight civilian employees of the Dunwoody police department took their oaths of office Tuesday evening at the Dunwoody Farmhouse before an appreciative crowd of more than 200 Dunwoody residents, DeKalb County officials and police officials from neighboring cities.

A few hours later, just before midnight April 1, the officers assembled for their first roll call. As midnight approached, 40 black and white squad cars rolled out from the new Dunwoody city hall and police headquarters, blue lights flashing and an appreciative audience applauding.

The Farmhouse ceremony was led by City Manager Warren Hutmacher and featured an invocation by the longtime Georgia State Patrol Chaplain, Monsignor R. Donald Kiernan of All Saints Catholic Church. Speeches by City Councilman Tom Taylor and state Sen. Dan Weber (R-Dunwoody) were warmly received as they recounted the three-year march to the incorporation of the new city.

Taylor drew appreciative laughter when he thanked the police and said, "To the folks on the other side of the law, the season is now open."

But the audience was riveted as Police Chief Billy Grogan and his command staff introduced the 48-person staff individually.

"The average officer," Grogan said, "has 11 years of experience, two are graduates of the FBI National Academy in Virginia and four hold master's degrees. Many have been SWAT team commanders and one has been a member of the Drug Enforcement Administration task force."

Grogan explained that the motto of the police force is "serving with distinction." He introduced a retired DeKalb police officer, Frank Figueroa, who designed the department's sleeve patch. It includes the date of city's founding and the word "Integritas," Latin for integrity and a word used by Roman legions at the time of Caesar.

"Our core values," Grogan said, "include service, integrity, teamwork and courage."

Grogan delighted the crowd by saying that each officer had been given two "challenge coins," commemorative coins often used by police and military units. After the ceremony, the officers gave their coins to members of the audience.

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