The danger inherent in police work was never more evident than in 2016.
Law enforcement deaths across Georgia have tripled over the last two years, with seven on-duty deaths in Middle Georgia alone this year.
The deaths came at a time when tensions between police and the public were on the rise nationwide, and while many people were fearful and suspicious of police, others made a point to show extra support for law enforcement.
The deaths — six of them by gunfire — reminded residents anew of the courage and selflessness that officers bring to the job every day.
The following Middle Georgia officers were killed in the line of duty in 2016:
▪ Bibb County sheriff’s deputy TJ Freeman was killed in a May crash while helping chase a suspect.
▪ Eastman police officer Tim Smith was shot to death in August after answering a call about a man with a gun.
▪ Peach County deputies Sgt. Patrick Sondron and Daryl Smallwood were shot and killed in November when they went to a man’s house to investigate a neighbors’ dispute.
▪ Pat Carothers, a U.S. marshal based in Macon, was shot and killed in November while helping serve a warrant in Long County.
▪ Americus police officer Ryan Smarr and Georgia Southwestern campus policeman Jody Smith were shot and killed in December while responding to a call about a domestic dispute.