The mounting figures of COVID-19 fatalities include things like growing numbers of legislation enforcement officers, thought to have been exposed to the virus when they had been on duty.

Lanier Complex University officer dies of COVID, one particular of a lot more than a dozen GA law enforcement officers

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1 of the latest was a university campus police officer in Gainesville.

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He was a career law enforcement officer, serving a lot more than 35 yrs in north Georgia — Officer Steve Hemphill, 59.

For the previous a few yrs Officer Hemphill was with the Lanier Complex University Police Department (LTCPD) in Gainesville. Officer Hemphill died of COVID-19 on Jan. 16, 2021, according to the Officer Down Memorial Website page website.

The website’s tribute to Hemphill suggests it is thought that he was exposed to the virus just just before Christmas, while on duty offering support at a overall health screening checkpoint on campus.

On Thursday, LTCPD Chief Jeff Strickland, a personalized close friend of Hemphill during their careers, spoke of how those people who knew Hemphill are devastated. Main Strickland known as Hemphill a excellent police officer who cherished his household, loved the outdoor, his motorcycle and trout fishing.

“Steve Hemphill was not just a law enforcement officer at Lanier Complex Higher education Law enforcement Division. He was my close friend,” Strickland mentioned.

Strickland stated he and Hemphill attended the police academy jointly in 1984. Strickland remembered him as a “wonderful law enforcement officer” whose family members was most crucial to him.

“The Lanier Technical College or university Law enforcement Division is a small department that lets us to become extremely shut,” Strickland said. “We are devastated by the reduction of our buddy and fellow officer. Steve touched us all in a unique way and will be sorely skipped but by no means neglected.”

The Officer Down Memorial Website page counts Officer Hemphill as 1 of far more than 200 legislation enforcement officers throughout the region who have died from COVID-19, all considered to have been uncovered though on duty. According to the web site, as of Thursday there were being 217 fatalities in 2020, but on Friday the web page counted two added deaths from 2020 for a total of 219 the count for 2021, so much, is 15 deaths.

Seventeen of the officers served in Ga, in accordance to the web page four of the Ga officers died just because the initial of this yr.

Steve Hemphill’s occupation provided support with the Gainesville Law enforcement Division (20 several years), the Hall County Sheriff’s Office environment (two several years), and, for 11 yrs, the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Business office.

Lumpkin County Sheriff Stacy Jarrard, on Thursday, reported Hemphill was like a brother to him, and was a devoted peace officer who introduced smiles to all people he understood.

“He was a brother, a buddy, and an really really hard coworker for those people of us that experienced the satisfaction of being aware of him,” Jarrad stated. “We will miss out on him and all the smiles he introduced to our faces about the decades.”

Hemphill leaves a wife and two little ones the legislation enforcement neighborhood is supporting the household, now, alongside with the family members of additional than 200 other individuals throughout the nation who have been shed to COVID, so considerably.

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