Q&A with Capt. Roger Hayes

April 10, 2013 

Q&A with Capt. Roger Hayes

City of Residence: Byron

Occupation: Chief of Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex Safety; Centerville law enforcement officer

QUESTION: You’re in quite a transition period in your life that’s also affecting Middle Georgia law enforcement.

ANSWER: Yes, I’m retiring at the end of the month after 33 years at Robins Air Force Base, and I’m changing roles as a part-time area law enforcement officer.

QUESTION: What’s your role been in law enforcement?

ANSWER: I’ve worked part-time for the Centerville Police Department for 13 years and with other agencies before that. I’m a captain in Centerville. Part of what I’ve done there has been as coordinator of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety’s Middle Georgia Traffic Enforcement Network.

QUESTION: What’s that?

ANSWER: One of 16 traffic enforcement networks in Georgia. We have three main roles: education, enforcement and enforcement. That’s 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 doesn’t 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 network’s 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: How’s your retirement from the base changing that role?

ANSWER: It’s actually bringing more responsibility in Centerville and with the network. I’ll have more responsibility in Centerville on a daily basis. Among my duties will be working on professional standards. I’ll 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, we’ll 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 I’ve 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 governor’s 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 you’re going from being a federal and city employee to a state and city employee?

ANSWER: That’s right. I’m hanging up my federal spurs.

QUESTION: What benefit has being lead agency for the Middle Georgia network been to Centerville?

ANSWER: It’s 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, we’ve been able to buy a lot of equipment such as radars, lasers, on-dash cameras and that sort of thing. It’s been a real plus.

But because I’m 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 governor’s 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: You’ve had quite a career at Robins promoting safety. What made you add the law enforcement aspect?

ANSWER: Some people’s 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. I’d 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: You’ve stayed busy.

ANSWER: I’ve been so blessed in this whole deal. I’ve had a great career at the base and gone further than I ever imagined. I started as a forklift driver. I’ve been blessed to be part of this (Centerville) department. The department and the city have given me wonderful opportunities, and I couldn’t 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, I’ve 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. I’ve been blessed.

QUESTION: Are you yourself a safe person? At work and on the road?

ANSWER: I think so. You’ve got to walk the walk if you talk the talk. I do my best.

-- Compiled by Michael W. Pannell. Contact him at mwpannell@gmail.com.

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