Muscogee County sheriff receives two prestigious awards

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 10:30 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Protecting and serving is what officers do. One officer is going above and beyond his call of duty in Columbus and is being recognized for his efforts.

Gang-related crimes in Columbus have dropped, and one man has made it his mission to eliminate gangs in the city. Lieutenant Jeremy Hattaway says he feels honored to be able to represent the men and women who work so hard alongside him. He says he wouldn’t have received this award without his team.

Lieutenant Jeremy Hattaway just awarded the Jose Diaz Gang Investigator of the Year Award for the State of Georgia and the Gang Investigator of the Year for the Western Region. Hattaway says it’s a deeper meaning for him.

“Just to be Put in the category I feel that you know just to be mentioned I look at it like I said not just in a in a war for me I feel honored to be a representative of the men and women who contributed to make all this happen,” Hattaway says.

In January, The Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office launched Operation Zero Tolerance — a way to decrease gang violence in the area by deputies patrolling the streets looking for gang activity.

Six gang members were arrested during the sting operation. Lt Hattaway is touting the operation’s success in reducing gang-related crimes in the Fountain City.

“I think we have. I think that there’s still a lot that we have to work on. It’s not a problem that occurred overnight. It built up over time so it’s going to take time to dismantle these games that have grown over the last probably 10-15 years,” Hattaway says

In March, Lt Hattaway went above and beyond to help Columbus police officers chase a stolen vehicle. But Hattaway was ambushed with more than 20 rounds of gunfire from gang members.

Hattaway was shot in the leg. He says they are now partnering with state and federal agencies to prosecute the suspects to the fullest.

“So we’re also not only looking at prosecuting these gang members criminal gang members who have weapons and drugs for the state charges but we’re also looking to prosecute them federally also which is going to take them out of our our city our state and possibly make them do a lot more time,” Hattaway says.

Lt Hattaway says the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office is working with Attorney General Chris Carr to crack down on gangs across the state.