Photo by Elaine Rackley: Henry County Police Chief Keith Nichols promoted Sgt. Mike Ireland to lieutenant during a pinning ceremony Friday at police headquarters. Ireland’s daughters, Holly Madison, 28 (left), and Paige Ireland, 16 (right), took part in the ceremony by also pinning their father.
The Henry County Police Department honored two of its own this week, during a promotion-and-pinning ceremony.
Police Sgt. Mike Ireland was promoted to lieutenant, and Officer E. Honea was promoted to sergeant, by Henry County Police Chief Keith Nichols.
Ireland has worked with the department since 2000, and Honea has been on the force since 2009. The promotional ceremony was held, Friday, at police headquarters in McDonough. Dozens of law enforcement personnel were joined by Ireland’s daughters, Holly Madison, 28, and Paige Ireland,16.
Chief Nichols described Ireland as a man of integrity. “I consider this promotion special,” Nichols said. “I got a chance to work side-by-side with him in internal affairs. He has done an exceptional job ... and it is an honor to work with him.”
The new lieutenant’s daughters’ eyes beamed with pride as their father was pinned. Ireland retired from the United States Army in 2000, as a Master Sergeant.
“I look across the room, and I see a lot of folks that have helped me out in my career,” said Lt. Ireland. “Lynn in CID ( Criminal Investigation Division), Rhonda, and some special detectives in CID. Those are the guys that make me. I have a saying, that says your job is to make me look good, and they have done that.”
Maj. Mark Ammerman, who heads the Henry County Uniform Patrol Division, said he is proud of Honea and Ireland. “With [Ireland’s career] with the department, and his distinguished career in the military, his leadership ability will be welcomed in the uniform patrol division,” said Ammerman.
Lovejoy Police Sgt. Michael Gaddis, of Clayton County, who was Ireland’s former boss in Henry County in the Criminal Investigations Division, said he promoted Ireland from officer to detective, in 2005, because of his dedication and loyalty.
“I think [Ireland’s] promotion was well-overdue,” said Sgt. Gaddis.
Ireland said, out of the numerous cases he has worked on at the department, there was one in 2006 he will never forget. It involved a child who died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS.)
The infant was the 23-month-old baby girl of a fellow police officer, he said. “Those kinds of cases stay with you for a long time, because of her precious life and the pureness of a baby’s life ...”
Nichols told the audience that crime is always trying to work its way into Henry County, and it was a pleasure to promote Honea. “[Honea] is one of those officers who does his job, he is an aggressive officer,” the chief said.
Honea said the case that has left a lasting impression on him, was a recent narcotics case. The new sergeant said he was working with the department’s sniper team on the surveillance of a home with the suspects inside.
“One of the occupants of the home came out of the house, while I was trying to get a tag number off the vehicle,” said Sgt. Honea. “[A suspect] was in six feet of me, but due to my training and experience, I was able to remain undetected. That was the only time I came close to ever being caught.”
“[Honea’s] promotion is well-deserved, and he will be a good leader for his officers,” said Maj. Ammerman.