Service club honors top Houston County cops

bpurser@macon.comMay 29, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- The top law enforcement officers for Houston County agencies, including those at Robins Air Force Base, were honored Thursday at a Noon Optimist Club luncheon.

The service club annually honors each 2014 Officer of the Year as part of the Respect for Law program. The officers are selected by the six individual agencies.

“These officers give selflessly every day to the protection of this community,” said Houston County State Court Solicitor Amy Smith, an Optimist Club member. “They’re out there in the line of fire protecting the community, protecting our children, making sure that everybody is safe.”

Those recognized at the luncheon were:

• Houston County sheriff’s Sgt. Margaret “Margo” Hays, a 21-year veteran of the agency. She serves at the Houston County jail. In 2013, she was assigned to manage the warehouse of the inmate service unit. She was credited with cutting supply costs by $50,000 with the first-year’s implementation of an electronic inventory management system.

• Perry police Detective Tom Daly, who has been with Perry police since 2008. In 2013, he received a letter of commendation for clearing about 25 burglary cases involving multiple jurisdictions, including the city of Perry and the counties of Houston, Bleckley and Dooly.

• Warner Robins police Officer Kristen Morgan, a newcomer to law enforcement. She joined the agency in 2012. She was recognized for her work ethic and commended for motivating senior officers.

• Centerville police Officer Lonnie Paul Hollar, who joined the agency’s police force in 2008 after serving with the state Department of Corrections and the Marshallville Police Department. He was credited with multiple arrests involving foot pursuits.

• U.S. Air Force Capt. Jovonsia Warthen of the 78th Security Forces Squadron, who is serving as both operations officer and logistics officer responsible for providing gear, equipment, training and direction to more than 400 military and civilian officers. She has served in Kuwait and has earned several honorary decorations, such as the Air Force Commendation Medal.

• Air Force Master Sgt. James Miller of the 116th Security Forces Squadron, a member of the Georgia Air National Guard. He comes from a military family, including a father, grandfather and siblings serving in the armed forces. He has been deployed to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The officers received a plaque, cash gift and a donation in his or her name to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Warthen was not present.

The club also paused to honor officers who have died in the line of duty in Georgia.

The Warner Robins Noon Optimist Club bills itself as the oldest continuously running service club in Warner Robins, a news release stated.

Its members sponsor the Optimist Bowl each fall at the Warner Robins Recreation Department, local Scout troops and other youth activities.

The luncheon was held at Ole Times Country Buffet on Russell Parkway, where the group meets weekly.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

2014 Optimist Officer of the Year biographies

Houston County Sheriff’s Office:
Sgt. Margaret “Margo” Hays has been with the Houston County Sheriff’s Office since 1993. She has worked in every section of the old detention center and was promoted to corporal in May 1996 and then sergeant in July 2002. When the new detention center opened in August 2002, she helped lead and direct a detention squad as the center transitioned to direct supervision. She was later assigned­ to help oversee the inmate services unit. In February 2013, there was a need for a new warehouse manager and with her “OCD” ways, she was the perfect fit. She reorganized the warehouse, reducing use and costs while working to get the warehouse organized under an electronic inventory management system. During her first year with that system, she reduced the costs for supplies by almost $50,000 and worked to ensure local vendors were notified of the bidding process. She is married to Cliff Hays. Together they have five children and 14 grandchildren.

Perry Police Department:
Detective Tom Daly has been with the Perry Police Department since April 2008. He has served as a school resource officer and was promoted to detective Nov. 29, 2011. In 2013, he received a letter of commendation for clearing approximately 25 burglary cases involving multiple jurisdictions (Houston, Bleckley, Pulaski, Dooly counties and the city of Perry.) He was previously honored as the Officer of the Year by this club as well as the Perry Rotary Club in 2009. He and his wife Karen have three children.

Warner Robins Police Department:
Officer Kristen Morgan joined the Warner Robins Police Department in 2012. She hopes to someday join one of the investigative divisions at the department. She has impressed her peers with her hard work and dedication. One fellow officer wrote that she “does a thorough job investigating the incidents and often will conduct follow up investigation on her own without being asked.” Her work ethic has been commended and cited as a motivation for more senior officers. Officer Morgan has previously stated that the one thing she enjoys most about her job is to help people while she serves her community.

Centerville Police Department:
Officer Lonnie Paul Hollar Jr. began his law enforcement career with the Department of Corrections in 2005. He then worked with the Marshallville Police Department before joining the Centerville Police Department in October 2008. Since that time, officer Hollar has been an enthusiastic, dedicated and hardworking employee. He has completed many advanced certifications and has been selected as a field training officer. Officer Hollar has been credited with many arrests involving foot pursuits. Violators in Centerville have learned “if you run from officer Holler, he will catch you.”

78th Security Forces Squadron:
Capt. Jovonsia Wartnen is currently serving as both the operations officer (deputy chief) and logistics officer, providing gear/equipment/training and direction to over 400 military and civilian officers while securing more than $15 billion in DOD assets for a population of more than 26,000 who live and on Robins Air Force Base. She is originally from Louisiana and has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Howard University. She has served in Kuwait and her decorations include the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. She is currently working toward her Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice.

116th Security Forces Squadron:
Master Sgt. James Miller is a traditional Guardsman with the Georgia National Guard, and comes from a military family with his father, both grandfathers and siblings serving in the armed forces. He is originally from Collinsville, Illinois, and enlisted at the age of 19 with the 183rd Security Forces Squadron. He transferred to the 116th in 1999 and has been deployed to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 2007, Sgt. Miller has been with the Georgia National Guard Counterdrug Task Force. He is responsible for the implementation of all plans and programs of Counterdrug as outlined by the Office of the President and the Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, involving a large amount of collaboration with local agencies throughout the state of Georgia. He is certified as only one of 30 Military Advanced Counter Threat Financial Analysts in the country. He and his wife Amber have one son.

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