State Rep. Bill Hitchens (R-Rincon) recently received the Meritorious Service Award from the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police (GACP). Rep. Hitchens was presented with this award during the GACP summer training conference.
“I certainly wish to thank the GACP for recognizing my support of the law enforcement community with this award,” said Rep. Hitchens.
GACP selected Rep. Hitchens for the award for introducing and passing legislation to amend the state retention laws regarding the length of time a police agency must keep recorded digital records. Rep. Hitchens was also recognized for his continued advocacy for public safety and strong beliefs in enhanced training for law enforcement personnel.
“As a veteran of 43 years in several areas of the criminal justice environs, and as a father of a state trooper who has served for 22 years,” Hitchens said, “I deeply empathize with our officers and make every effort to utilize my experience and position to advocate for enhanced training, better equipment, public support and necessary legislation to further allow these men and women to fairly and efficiently protect our citizens.”
Before being elected to the state House, Rep. Hitchens served the state in various capacities, including 28 years with the Georgia State Patrol, where he retired as a Major in 1997. Rep. Hitchens remained in service to the state as a member of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
In 2003, he was appointed as the first director of the Georgia Office of Homeland Security, reporting directly to the Governor. Rep. Hitchens was directly responsible for all security activities during the G-8 Summit held in June, 2004.
In December 2004, Rep. Hitchens was appointed Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety and Colonel of GSP, where he remained for more than 8 years. He also maintained a dual military career in the Coast Guard Reserves after a combat tour with the United States Marine Corps in the Republic of South Vietnam.
Rep. Hitchens is a graduate of Georgia Southern University, FBI National Academy 130th session and numerous other advanced training programs. He resides in Rincon with his wife Norma.
“Just prior to attending the GACP banquet, I attended an event at the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office, organized by private citizens to show their support for law enforcement.” Hitchens said. “With the recent unprovoked assassinations on officers, along with the rush to judgment on almost any use of force, have given many pause as to whether or not they want to remain in police work, and this example public support is instrumental in letting those who protect us know their efforts in our behalf do not go unnoticed of unappreciated.”