Giles County Sheriff Kyle Helton and the sheriff’s department had an unusual time in parts of 2020 and 2021 when a worldwide pandemic overtook the United States and Tennessee.
So he did an unusual thing when asked to nominate an officer for the Pulaski Exchange Club’s annual Law Enforcement Officer of the Year selection.
“In place of nominating one deputy, I am nominating the entire Giles County Sheriff’s Department to include deputies and corrections staff for their dedication and hard work this past year,” he wrote in a letter to the club.
“This has been such a difficult year; it is a challenge to pick just one employee as officer of the year because our entire department went above and beyond to take care of the people of Giles County.”
The corrections staff, which works primarily at the Giles County Jail, worked to keep prisoners safe from Covid and cared for sick inmates, he said.
“Staff members also caught Covid. We dealt with that, too,” Helton said,
“Our deputies have delivered groceries and picked up medications for those who were positive for COVID and those who were potentially positive for COVID. They did the same for higher risk groups in order to keep them from being exposed to the virus. The phone calls would come in and without question, they would go. This continues to this day,” the sheriff said.
All of this was done while continuing their daily workload, he said.
Attorney Bob Massey, an Exchange Club member, thanked department members of the department.
Recognition of the law enforcement officer of the year is an annual service project of the local Exchange Club, which has been done for several years. Massey chairs the project committee.
He noted the uncertainty of law enforcement and correction positions and the resulting stress.
“When you make a traffic stop, you never know what you might encounter,” he said.
For some months, access to the sheriff’s department lobby was limited, though Helton said that lobby is open at prepandemic conditions,
Members of the department received 75 gift certificates for lunch at a local restaurant, Richand Trace Market, courtesy of the local Exchange Club, according to Dewitt Booth, Exchange Club vice president.
The Exchange Club meets Tuesdays at 11:45 a.m., except the first week of the month, at Hickory House Restaurant.
Helton grinned when asked who he might nominate for next year’s award.
“I haven’t had a chance to think about that,” he said.