State Department of Public Safety Honors Fallen Trooper

6:38 PM, Jul 10, 2013   |    comments
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Since 1937, the Georgia State Patrol has protected roadways, and the people who use them. 

Through the years, 27 troopers have lost their lives in the line of duty.

The first of those, Sergeant Fred Black, from Macon, was killed in 1940. Georgia's Department of Public Safety honored him Wednesday.

"It's appropriate that today, here, in Macon, the place of Sergeant Black's birth, education, and early career, that we dedicate not only this ceremony, but the ceremony that will follow for the dedication on the highway to his honor, and to his memory," said Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.

One of Black's surviving relatives, second cousin Glenn Mitchell, says any time would be appropriate to honor his late relative.

"It's a great honor," said Mitchell. "I don't think it's late. It's never too late."

The sign at the intersection of Interstate 16 and Ocmulgee East Boulevard will serve as a memorial to Black's dedication, as well as a reminder to those who wear blue shirts and brimmed hats today.

"It's a fitting tribute, that we mark a segment of the roadway, or highway, or a bridge abovement, because this is where our men and women work," said Colonel Mark McDonough, commissioner of the the Georgia Department of Public Safety. "He gave his life, the ultimate sacrifice, to the citizens of this state. It's a dangerous job. It has been since the beginning of our agency. And it's getting ever increasingly dangerous. It should remind them of his sacrifice. It should also remind them to be safe in the carrying out of the duties of what they're required to do."

Fred Black grew up in Macon near Vineville Avenue, and graduated from the Lanier Boys School.
     
He was a trooper from the state patrol's first graduating class in 1937, and died from gunshot wounds at a routine traffic stop in 1940.

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