TIFTON — It was fitting that the pinning ceremony welcoming Tifton’s new Chief of Police was held on National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day on Jan. 9

Chief Steve Hyman was honored at the ceremony by family, friends, City of Tifton elected officials and members of the Tifton Police Department.

Hyman, who has served with the Tifton Police Department for 36 years, was appointed chief following the retirement of former Chief Buddy Dowdy last September.

After his shoulder epaulettes and badge indicating his new rank were pinned on, an emotional Hyman said he was honored for the opportunity to serve.

“I am honored to be your chief and committed to our officers, to our community and to you,” he said. “There’s just so many people I need to thank for it being possible for me to be here today being pinned as chief. If I start calling names we would be here until tomorrow because it started many years back in Alapaha where a village raised a little boy that wanted to be a policeman. It has continued here in Tifton where a village prepared him to lead their police department.

“I want to thank each of you and thank each of our officers and clerks for your support and patience in the past couple of months. Just know I need you more now than ever. You’re the backbone of our department and our community. You’re the ones out there night and day standing between good and evil, busting your butt to serve and protect this community. I appreciate you more than words can ever describe, and I got your six.

“Many have asked me what I am going to do and what my plans are. My answer is simple. We’re going to work. We’re going to be proactive fighting crime. We’re going to be result driven and we’re going to be engaged and build this partnership with our community as we do it.”

Mayor Julie Smith congratulated Hyman after his remarks concluded,

“I am so proud that you’re the leader of this department now because I know where this will go,” she said. “We are in your hands and I stand before you as the mayor of this community to let you know that this community supports you, this community is proud of you and this community couldn’t say enough thanks to you and your family for what you have done and what you will do.”

Council members Wes Ehlers, Jack Folk and M. Jay Hall offered their congratulations.

Former Chief Dowdy spoke as well.

“Steve and I have been friends for a long time,” he said. “I want to congratulate Mr. Pete (Pyrzenski), the mayor and council. The decision to appoint Steve was very, very wise and the reason I want to congratulate you is you have just appointed the best chief of police the City of Tifton could ever have.”

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