On November 6, 2016 two Peach County Deputies, Patrick Sondron and Daryl Smallwood, were called to a neighborhood on Hardison Road for a reported dispute among neighbors.
When the deputies arrived, Ralph Stanley Elrod allegedly shot and killed them. That's when three Byron Police Officers came in as back up. Byron Police Chief, Wesley Cannon, says the two agencies often work together.
He says Sargent Eric Farris, Officer Michael Welch, and Officer Wesley Griffis arrived "just seconds" after Elrod reportedly fired more than 50 rounds at Sondron and Smallwood. Cannon says officer Griffis shot and wounded Elrod.
"I just want everyone to know how special those two men were," says Cannon. "I think it has had a strong emotional effect on the officers."
Now, one year later, Cannon says his officers and the community still have not fully recovered.
"I can feel the tension in the air. I can feel the nerves. I have seen the request for vacations come for the first of next week," says Cannon.
It's been a year filled with tears, fundraisers, and memorials for the two men.
Cannon says, mentally, his officers have spent the last year learning to be more alert. Physically, they've received new equipment to keep them safe, like more heavy-duty bullet proof vests.
"They can be quickly thrown on over the inside armor... it sits in the officers front seat... if they get a bad call... like what we had that day... they can put that armor on before they go to the scene," says Cannon.
A scene that Cannon says he hopes his officers never have to witness again.
On Saturday both agencies are hosting a "law enforcement community day" at Lane's Southern Orchard. It will start at 10am and end at 4pm. The event will honor of Smallwood and Sondron.
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