James Nathan Mason has been named Police Officer of the Year by Eatonton Police Chief Kent Lawrence, and Lori Getty, Dispatcher of the Year.
Mason, who has been with the department for more than 20 years, and Getty with eight years of service, were honored at EPD’s annual Christmas Dinner.
“This is to honor them for their dedicated service and loyalty to the police department and the City of Eatonton,” Lawrence said as he presented the exceptional officers with plaques.
Family, colleagues and community representatives filled the Putnam General Hospital cafeteria to celebrate the department and its honorees.
Mason, who serves also as an Eatonton Police Honor Guard, was accompanied by his wife, Patricia Mason; his mother, Maxine Mason; son, Casey Mason; daughter Erica Haley and son-in-law, David Haley; daughter-in-law Brooke Mason and grandchildren, Karter, Willow, Mason and Emma Clair.
Mason said being awarded Police Officer of the Year reminded him of many years earlier when he won a competition that he felt he didn’t deserve.
“It was only me in that competition,” Mason said. “But there’s a lot here that deserve this, so I thank you.”
Welcoming guests, which included active and retired Eatonton police officers, Getty opened the program.
Accompanied by her family, Jay Getty, Lanning Getty, Hannah Parham, Bela Smith, Pauline Franklin, David Getty and Candice Wooten, Getty was surprised by Lawrence when he joined her up front to award her Dispatcher of the Year.
The Rev. Officer Lucille Crawford prayed for the department and the community before blessing the food.
“Bless this community,” Crawford prayed. “Let us come together in love and unity.”
Showing their appreciation for the police department, several local leaders thanked the honorees and their dedication to keeping the citizens of Eatonton safe.
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Eatonton Mayor John Reid said. “It is a great opportunity to work for the city again.”
Mayor Pro Tem Chip Walker noted that Eatonton sometimes has bumps in the road, but they are always overcome because the city is run well.
“Our emergency services are second to none,” Walker said.
Newly elected Wards 1 & 4 Councilmember Marie Rainey said she was looking forward to serving the citizens of Eatonton.
“The police department has always been there for us,” Rainey said.
Congratulating the honorees, Putnam County Solicitor Russell Thomas said that Eatonton was fortunate to have the caliber of law enforcement who serve the community.
Ocmulgee Assistant District Attorney T. Wright Barksdale added, “It’s a great place to raise your family, and you guys make that possible here.”
“What I want everyone to take away from this,” Lawrence said, “is that the Eatonton Police Department is run a lot better than what they are given credit for.”