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Thomasville police officers honored with life saving award

Corporal Brandon Kent (left) and Officer Jamil Gatlin (right) were honored after they helped a...
Corporal Brandon Kent (left) and Officer Jamil Gatlin (right) were honored after they helped a young man experiencing a crisis on Sept. 14.(City of Thomasville)
Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 3:11 PM EDT
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THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WCTV) - Two Thomasville Police Department officers recently received the Life Saving Award for helping a young man during a crisis in September.

A TPD spokesperson says Corporal Brandon Kent and Officer Jamil Gatlin managed to talk the man down from a railroad overpass.

“The danger in this situation was two-fold: First, he was on a railroad track. Second, he was threatening to jump off the overpass,” the spokesperson says.

The city says Mayor Greg Hobbs presented the prestigious award to Kent and Gatlin at a city council meeting on Oct. 12 for their collaborative effort as the situation unfolded.

“The City of Thomasville appreciates the physical and mental preparedness of all of our brave officers who keep our citizens safe on a daily basis,” Hobbs says.

TPD Assistant Chief Eric Hampton says all TPD officers are trained to handle crises like this.

“These two officers put their training into practice, using empathy and their personal life experiences to connect with a young man in crisis,” Hampton says. “We are proud to recognize these officers for their exceptional service on Sept.14 which resulted in saving the life of a young man.”

Gatlin and Kent were nominated for the award by TPD Major Shane Harris, who says their teamwork was key in deescalating the crisis.

“Corporal Kent applied his training, life skills, empathy, and spoke from his heart to persuade a citizen to let him help; pleading that together they would find a solution for the citizen. Kent did not allow the silence of the citizen to be a refusal for help,” Harris says. “After a half-hour of talking to the citizen, Kent asked Gatlin to step in. Officer Gatlin spoke with genuine care and related personal experiences when speaking with the citizen. Eventually, the young man agreed to go to the hospital with Gatlin.”

Kent says he joined the TPD force because he wanted to make a positive difference in people’s lives, especially in times of need.

“This incident gave us an opportunity to do that,” Kent says. “I am hopeful that we made a lasting impact in the life of one of our citizens.”

Gatlin shared a similar sentiment.

“This is why I joined this profession, to make a difference, and to change the dynamic of someone’s life with a positive interaction,” Gatlin says.

Harris says true heroes aren’t interested in material gain or recognition, and they’re focused on helping the community through care and compassion.

“Heroes exceed what is expected of them. They do not have hidden motives and they are defined by the moments in which they are called upon to act," Harris says. "That is exactly what Kent and Gatlin did. Thank you to both officers for your dedication to our citizens and community.”

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