Photo by Elaine Rackley
Clayton County Police Chief Gregory Porter (left) and Clayton County Police Deputy Chief Chris Butler (right)
presented Lt. Kenneth Still (center) with a proclamation and plaque during his retirement ceremony.
JONESBORO — Clayton County Police Department (CCPD) recently held a retirement ceremony for two veterans. Clayton Police Lt. Kenneth Still and 911 Operations Supervisor Kristy Rohm were presented with plaques, flags and proclamations during the ceremony.
“This is a good day for the two retirees,” said Clayton County Police Chief Gregory Porter. “However, it is a bad day for Clayton County public safety. The law enforcement community will be losing approximately 53 years of valuable public safety experience in the areas of 911 and crime scene investigations. As chief of police of the CCPD, I am proud to say that I had the opportunity to work with these two professional individuals for the past 26 years.”
The retirement ceremony was held at the CCPD headquarters, located at 7911 North McDonough Street in Jonesboro.
Porter led the crowd in a moment of silence for three police officers who were killed in the line of duty this month. Two Atlanta police officers, Richard J. Halford and Shawn A. Smiley, died in a helicopter crash. One Henry County Police officer, Elgin LeVard Daniel, died while helping a stranded motorist.
The police chief praised the retirees for their spirit of excellence while performing their duties. He noted the occasions where their work ethic served as examples for others in the police department.
“Kristy remained on shift for 36 hours in the snowstorm of 2011,” Porter said. “When it came to processing crime scenes, [Still’s] work was methodical.”
Porter said Still’s expertise and attention to detail was vital to the police department.
Clayton County Sheriff Chief Deputy Garland Watkins said he has known Still for 27 years.
“He used to work at the sheriff’s office and in the later part of 2004, Sheriff Stanley Tuggle transferred the crime scene unit to the police department,” Watkins said. “Ken, we are going to miss you and congratulations. Thank you for putting up with my wife, (Theresa Watkins) while working the crime scene unit. ... People who work in CSI, you are a unique breed, simply because of the expertise that you have. It takes a unique person to do that job. The men and women of the sheriff’s office appreciate you.”
CCPD spokesperson C. Ashmore served as mistress of ceremony and introduced a video presentation featuring Rohm and Still. The crowd at times would break into laughter as they watched.
Rohm spoke through tears as she addressed her former colleagues following the video presentation.
“It’s very hard for me to leave,” Rohm said. “When I started, there was a shooting maybe once a month. Now, that can happen five times a day. ... Thank you all for putting up with me. I love you all.”
The crowd rose to their feet to give her a standing ovation in response to her speech.
CCPD Deputy Chief Chris Butler acknowledged Rohm’s dedication working in the 911 center during a 1993 winter storm, when tornadoes hit Ellenwood.
“This is a celebration to start your new life,” Butler said. “Kristy, I looked over five volumes of your personnel file. You fought for your employees.”
Butler described Still as the “go to person” for the CSI division. Butler told how Still climbed into a burned out dumpster and discovered a body was inside.
“He had a dedication to solving crimes,” Butler added.
Still told the crowd he remembered climbing in the charred dumpster and agreed the CSI unit is a “unique” group.
“I’ve enjoyed it,” Still said. “The biggest thing I am going to miss is seeing the news stories and thinking what really happened.”
Again, the crowd rose to their feet to give Still a standing ovation.
“You have made a difference in our lives,” said Porter in his closing remarks. “I wish you well in your future endeavors.”
“We hope the sun is always in your face and the wind is always on your back,” said Ashmore in closing remarks.