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‘He gave the ultimate sacrifice’: Decatur Co. Captain’s legacy lives on through community

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Published: May. 12, 2022 at 9:57 PM EDT|Updated: May. 12, 2022 at 10:03 PM EDT
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BAINBRIDGE, Ga. (WALB) - It’s been more than a year since Decatur County Sheriff’s Office Cpt. Justin Bedwell lost his life in the line of duty, but his memory continues to live on.

His name is now engraved on the memorial wall in Washington D.C and he’ll be honored this week during a dedication ceremony for National Police Week.

Cpt. Bedwell is still remembered in the community even after his passing.
Cpt. Bedwell is still remembered in the community even after his passing.(WALB)

Cpt. Bedwell served in law enforcement for 20 years and will forever be known as a hero in the Bainbridge community. Last year, he was shot during a search for two suspects.

“He gave the ultimate sacrifice for our community to keep us safe,” Katherine Bedwell, Cpt. Bedwell’s wife said.

Katherine said she has heard of nothing but good memories of him as people tell her the many acts of services, he did during his time in law enforcement.

“He died doing what he loved and I think it’s important. He may be gone, but he’s not forgotten,” she said. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him, that I don’t want to pick up the phone. I just hope we’re making him proud.”

Chief Deputy Wendell Cofer tells me that Cpt. Bedwell’s passing goes beyond his influence on the community as it has sparked a change in the local law enforcement agency.

“I know he would be proud that not only did he impact the community, he’s impacting future deputies and future generations of deputies because of his heroic actions that night,” he said. “The county commissioners and the county administrator Alan Thomas worked with sheriff Griffin and they came up with the funds for us to introduce a lot of safety equipment that the deputies now have that we didn’t have five or three years ago.”

Chief Deputy Wendell Cofer said Cpt. Bedwell was focused a lot on helping the youth.
Chief Deputy Wendell Cofer said Cpt. Bedwell was focused a lot on helping the youth.(WALB)

Cofer added that Cpt. Bedwell’s down-to-earth personality allowed him to work closely with the youth.

“We sent him to those assignments that we knew would involve public relations, community relations or activities with kids or disadvantaged people because he could relate to them really well.”

Cpt. Bedwell’s work though the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department’s program C.H.A.M.P also changed some students lives, including Marquail Jones, a 7th grader at Bainbridge Middle School.

“He changed my life,” Jones said. “He helped me with my homework and stuff like that. From that day on, I have always felt really comfortable with the police.”

Marquail Jones developed a close bond with Cpt. Bedwell and will always remember his...
Marquail Jones developed a close bond with Cpt. Bedwell and will always remember his encouraging words.(WALB)

Now Jones said Cpt. Bedwell’s encouraging words stick with him and motivates him to help other students.

“You have to learn from failure to be successful. You cannot let no one bring you down at your highest moment. When he told me that I felt like I should motivate others through this with the words that he told me,” he said.

A dedication ceremony will be held on May15 at the memorial wall in Washington D.C. Cpt. Bedwell’s name is also on the memorial wall at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center located in Forsyth. A dedication ceremony will also be held there on May 26.

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