In Memory of Police Officer Jerry Steven Hemphill
Georgia Officer Dies from COVID19
Gainesville, Georgia officials were saddened to announce the loss of a local officer due to COVID19. Police Officer Jerry Steven Hemphill, age 59, passed away on Saturday, January 16, 2021. Officer Hemphill contracted the virus while supporting a health screening checkpoint. He was helping college students get screened for COVID.
Thousands of law enforcement officers across the country continue to serve despite the deadliest threat they have ever faced. Worst yet, it is an invisible threat. The danger does not come as violence, wondering who is in the car they just pulled over, or facing down a suspect with a gun – but it comes from something invisible. The results have been devastating as we have continued to lose hundreds of officers to the virus.
Hemphill contracted the virus while helping students and educators get their COVID19 tests. He had served with the campus police at Lanier Technical College for three years. Officer Hemphill had more than 38 years of experience as a law enforcement officer. Before joining Lanier, Hemphill had previously served more than 20 years with the Gainesville Police Department. He also served as a deputy sheriff for two years with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office and eleven years with the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office.
Lanier Technical College Police Department
Officer Hemphill worked to serve his community through his position at Lanier Technical College Police Department. The LTCPD is a full-service police agency that was founded in September of 2016. At that time, Lanier Technical College decided that the best option to improve campus security was to create their own police department.
Police Chief Jeff Strickland encourages campus police and student relations as a form of ‘community policing.’ All campus officers are fully sworn police officers with arresting authority. Though the goal is to protect the students and campus, officers are also involved in helping students reach their goals or face problems.
Chief Strickland posted a message on their department website letting students know they are open and available to their needs. “I would encourage you to feel free to get to know the Police and Security Officers on the Lanier Technical College campuses. We are here to keep you safe and assist you with all your security needs. I think you will find our officers friendly and approachable and willing to assist you in any way possible.”
Families have been devastated by the impact of the virus. Police Officer Jerry Steven Hemphill leaves behind his wife and two children. The community and local law enforcement residents all came forward to show their respect and gratitude to Officer Hemphill as he was escorted to his final resting place. It will take a community to support his family members as they heal and work through their grief.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police or IACP posted their condolences on their social media page. “Our thoughts go out to the family, friends, & colleagues of Police Officer Jerry Steven Hemphill, Lanier Technical College Police Department, Georgia.”
The National Fraternal Order of Police posted the announcement on their Twitter page. “Blessed Are the Peacemakers. Police Officer Jerry Steven Hemphill. Lanier Technical College Police Department, Georgia. EOW: Wednesday, December 16, 2020. #EnoughIsEnough #OfficerDown #EOW #ThinBlueLine #COVID19 #BeatTheVirus.”