MACON, Ga. — This story has been contributed by Liz Fabian, one of our partners at Mercer's Center for Collaborative Journalism.
A pack of four Bibb County sheriff’s deputies on motorcycles led the body of a fallen colleague into Macon Memorial Park Cemetery late Wednesday morning.
Deputy Kenterrous Taylor, 27, died early on March 18 when he was thrown from his vehicle on Forsyth Road.
Taylor was responding to a reported burglary in progress when he lost control of his patrol car, crashed into a wall and overturned near Rivoli Drive.
Typically, a large public funeral would be held for a law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty but the global pandemic has postponed a public memorial.
“Given the COVID-19 virus situation, we’re having to do things a little bit differently but we do have a number of agencies, close-in surrounding agencies, that are helping us today with the escort and to show honor for Deputy Taylor,” Bibb Sheriff David Davis said as the officers gathered at the old Sonic drive-in restaurant just up the street from Taylor’s final resting place.
In addition to a cadre of Bibb County deputies, police officers from Byron and Warner Robins, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia State Patrol, REACT and the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department paid tribute to Taylor.
“It is overwhelming,” Davis said. “It is very uplifting and very much appreciated the outpouring of support we’re getting from these other agencies to help us in this time of need.”
As the small procession led the hearse from downtown Macon to the cemetery, vehicles pulled over along Montpelier Avenue and Mercer University Drive.
A man standing in a store parking lot removed his hat after the deputy’s body passed the flag flying at half-staff at Fire Station No. 8 near Bloomfield Raod.
Once the moratorium on gatherings of more than 10 people is lifted, a larger public ceremony is planned to honor Taylor’s life.
“We are working with the family to have a public memorial once all this virus situation is abated and then we’ll have a more fitting tribute for the public as well as for all our other employees,” Davis said.
The coronavirus pandemic has altered standard procedures for law enforcement officers as they follow CDC guidelines, Davis said.
“We are on the front lines. … We’re going to come into contact with people so the best thing we do is keep our hands clean, keep a sanitizer out and maintain as much distance as possible but when we do contact people we try to clean up afterwards,” he said.
The Bibb County jail houses hundreds of inmates and deputies continue to monitor those behind bars to see if they exhibit any symptoms of the deadly virus.
“We’ve already set a side a section of the jail in case we have to quarantine people,” Davis said. “We’re always trying to think ahead of these things, but so far no inmate has tested positive. All the deputies and staff are good.”
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