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Hampton judge honored for four decades of service

City officers awarded stars

Photo by Elaine Rackley
Hampton Municipal Court  Judge Wayne Jernigan (left) was recognized for more than 40 years of service by Hampton Police Chief Rad Porter during a ceremony and luncheon held at the Hampton Depot.

Photo by Elaine Rackley Hampton Municipal Court Judge Wayne Jernigan (left) was recognized for more than 40 years of service by Hampton Police Chief Rad Porter during a ceremony and luncheon held at the Hampton Depot.

HAMPTON — Hampton Municipal Court Judge Wayne Jernigan and some of his officers were honored by the city’s police chief during an award ceremony and luncheon held Monday at the Hampton Depot.

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Photo by Elaine Rackley Hampton Police Lt. John Walker received four stars from Hampton Police Chief Rad Porter for serving as a police officer in the city for 20 years.

Police Chief Rad Porter recognized Jernigan for serving the city for more than 40 years. The police chief awarded four stars to Lt. John Walker for 20 years of service. He also awarded Det. Shannon Brady and Sgt. Rusty Barnes each two stars for 10 years of service.

“I have worked with the judge for 17 years,” Porter said. “He is a honorable man and we are blessed to have him. I have been policing for 37 years and he’s one of the best judges that I have known in my career.”

Hampton Police officers were joined by Zion Baptist Church Pastor Nathaniel Lee, city court administrators, members of the probation office and the city prosecutor for the ceremony.

“I have prosecuted in this courtroom for eight to nine years,” said Hampton prosecutor Scott Mayfield. “[Jernigan] is one of the finest men I have ever met and he is good judge, too.”

Kim Stephens is Hampton’s court clerk and said she has worked with the city judge for 24 years.

“He’s a wonderful man,” Stephens said. “He is fair and he is a very caring judge.”

Jernigan became emotional as he talked about working in Hampton.

“Having a good set of police officers is very important because in court I need them to tell it like it is,” Jernigan said. “We have a wonderful police department in Hampton. I am honored to have the privilege to serve with such wonderful folks for so many years.”

Jernigan said he has worked as a judge in other cities in the state such as Butler, Reynolds and Ellaville.

Blanc Guglielmo said she translates for Spanish-speaking defendants appearing before the judge. She said the judge often urges young defendants to continue their education.

“He always gives advice to young people, encouraging them to stay in school,” Guglielmo said. “He will tell them, ‘I will give you another chance but only if you promise to keep going to school.’ Not many judges do that.”

Jernigan and his wife, LaVonne, who was on hand for the ceremony, have been married for 52 years. The couple has four children, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

“I have another great-grandchild on the way,” he said.