In the past, the award has been given to one individual, but this year, two officers were selected for the honor. “There was no way in good conscience that I could have picked between these two,” said Cedartown Assistant Police Chief Jamie Newsome, who nominated the officers for the award. “This year’s choice was simple.
Our most valuable asset is our folks. You can have all the fancy equipment money can buy, but unless you have the boots on the ground, you can’t get the work done.”
Newsome said both Payton and Reed were instrumental in the arrest of two individuals charged with the murder of Elizabeth Rae Hutcheson, a Dominos Pizza employee who was killed while making a delivery in June 2012.
“These guys worked 36 hours straight without going home. They both said, ‘as long as we’ve got a lead to follow, we’re not going home
until we end this,’ and that’s what they did. Because of their dedication, we were able to make arrests in that case. These two have never failed me.”
Both men said that they were honored with the award. “This award could have easily gone to anyone at the police department. It’s a great group of officers,” Reed said while accepting his award. Rockmart Police Department officer Jeremy Walters was also honored by the Exchange Club as a nominee for Officer of the Year.
The awards were presented during the Feb. 28 meeting of the Exchange Club. The meeting was attended not only by club members, but also by
several local law enforcement officers and their spouses.
The club hosted Polk County District Attorney Jack Browning as their special speaker for the evening.
Browning, who was elected as district attorney for the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit in November 2012, shared his philosophy on justice
and the role of his office. “I have no patience for people that commit crimes. Our message that we want to send to criminals in Polk County is ‘you’re going to pay for
Browning also said that his office is focused on moving cases along swiftly. “We’re staying on top of cases, because once a case gets old,
it tends to get bogged down and delays justice being served. The bottom line is this: The cost of doing crime in Polk County just went
The Cedartown Exchange Club is a community service organization that is focused on making a positive impact within the Polk community.
In addition to the Police Officer of the Year, they sponsor events like the Polk County Fair, Student of the Month and Student of the Year and Firefighter of the Year. They also host an annual prayer breakfast.
The club meets every Thursday of the month excluding fifth Thursdays at 7 p.m. at Meadow Lakes Golf Course in Cedartown.