Q&A with Capt. Roger Hayes
City of Residence: Byron
Occupation: Chief of Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex Safety; Centerville law enforcement officer
QUESTION: Youre in quite a transition period in your life thats also affecting Middle Georgia law enforcement.
ANSWER: Yes, Im retiring at the end of the month after 33 years at Robins Air Force Base, and Im changing roles as a part-time area law enforcement officer.
QUESTION: Whats your role been in law enforcement?
ANSWER: Ive worked part-time for the Centerville Police Department for 13 years and with other agencies before that. Im a captain in Centerville. Part of what Ive done there has been as coordinator of the Governors Office of Highway Safetys Middle Georgia Traffic Enforcement Network.
QUESTION: Whats that?
ANSWER: One of 16 traffic enforcement networks in Georgia. We have three main roles: education, enforcement and enforcement. Thats the way we put it. We enhance traffic enforcement activities through networking, training and legislation and conduct education programs in schools and communities. When education doesnt work, we do it through enforcement. We have programs like seatbelt checks, sobriety checks, Operation Rolling Thunder and others.
Rolling Thunder brought officers from across our networks 11 counties from Monroe to Turner counties to Houston for a period of time in 2011-12 to help in enforcement. Two hundred eighty-six DUI arrests were made.
QUESTION: Hows your retirement from the base changing that role?
ANSWER: Its actually bringing more responsibility in Centerville and with the network. Ill have more responsibility in Centerville on a daily basis. Among my duties will be working on professional standards. Ill be writing and publishing training policies and procedures and working toward getting state certification for our department. There are more than 500 law enforcement agencies in Georgia and just 100 or so are certified. Before too long, well be one of them.
QUESTION: How about the network?
ANSWER: For the past 12 years, Centerville has been the lead agency for the Middle Georgia Traffic Enforcement Network and Ive been coordinator for 10 years. That was a volunteer position the department let me fill for the state. Now, in addition to my part-time work for our department, the governors office is promoting me to a part-time paid position as a law enforcement liaison coordinating the efforts of four networks representing 52 counties.
QUESTION: So youre going from being a federal and city employee to a state and city employee?
ANSWER: Thats right. Im hanging up my federal spurs.
QUESTION: What benefit has being lead agency for the Middle Georgia network been to Centerville?
ANSWER: Its put us at the center of things with a lot of departments, but it also brought us a $7,500 grant each year. Without a direct expense to our taxpayers, weve been able to buy a lot of equipment such as radars, lasers, on-dash cameras and that sort of thing. Its been a real plus.
But because Im no longer coordinator, that role and the grant will move to Byron. Lt. Bryan Hunter over there has been assistant coordinator and will take over with the support of the Byron department.
QUESTION: As the mantle is passed, Centerville and the network have gotten recognition.
ANSWER: The governors office presented a plaque at City Council recognizing the work the city and department has done promoting highway safety through our work and the network. Mothers Against Drunk Driving also recognized us with their annual Golden Shield Honor Award as the traffic network of the year.
QUESTION: Youve had quite a career at Robins promoting safety. What made you add the law enforcement aspect?
ANSWER: Some peoples hobby is golf or something. Mine has been law enforcement. My initial interest was as an emergency medical technician years ago. One night I worked an accident with a fatality at Ga. 247 and Sandy Run Road where an intoxicated driver hit a motorcyclist head-on. We picked up body parts all over the road. Id worked plenty of accidents with fatalities, but that one got to me, and I decided I wanted to work on the other side of things to help prevent accidents rather than clean them up. Houston County Sheriff Cullen Talton took me on and got me training as a reserve deputy. Later, I worked for the Byron police then joined the Centerville force.
QUESTION: Youve stayed busy.
ANSWER: Ive been so blessed in this whole deal. Ive had a great career at the base and gone further than I ever imagined. I started as a forklift driver. Ive been blessed to be part of this (Centerville) department. The department and the city have given me wonderful opportunities, and I couldnt have done any of it without the people I work with every day. In traffic safety, getting drunk drivers off the road has been my passion.
On top of that, Ive been blessed to be the minister of music for 18 years at our church, Glenwood Hills Baptist in Macon. I grew up in that church and have been there all my 54 years. Ive been blessed.
QUESTION: Are you yourself a safe person? At work and on the road?
ANSWER: I think so. Youve got to walk the walk if you talk the talk. I do my best.
-- Compiled by Michael W. Pannell. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.