MOULTRIE, Ga. — What are law enforcement officers’ primary jobs? Are they shepherds or warriors? That’s what Moultrie Police Department Chief of Police Sean Ladson asked attendees to consider during Thursday’s ceremony to honor a previously wounded officer.
“Ninety-five percent of the time, officers serve as shepherds,” he said.
There’s no specific right or wrong answer to the question, but Landson explained how the tasks differ.
As a shepherd, an officer’s jobs consist of helping an elderly person with a tire change, enforcing traffic laws on the roadway, arresting people for minor misdemeanors, arresting violent criminals for felonies, holding hands of victims and consoling them or consoling families when the victims aren’t there.
The remaining five percent of the job is protecting the community as a warrior.
“Sometimes when individuals are trying to be shepherds, they have to be warriors [like a] law enforcement officer. That law enforcement officer puts the well-being and safety of his fellow officers or her fellow officers and the community above their own well-being and safety. On August 27th, 2022 that’s what Officer Nathaniel Hendry did,” Ladson said.
Ladson presented Hendry with the Law Enforcement Officer Award for Valor with a commendation ribbon.
The commendation tells Hendry’s experience from Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, the day he responded to a Moultrie hotel to help serve an arrest warrant on an individual who had multiple felony warrants.
When the officers tried to enter the second-floor room, the person inside shot at them and Hendry fired back, Ladson described in an earlier presentation. The officers retreated and set up a perimeter with Hendry south of the door and two other officers north of it, but Ladson said that arrangement left the two officers to the north with nowhere to go if the suspect came out of the room; he’d be between them and the only stairs.
At that moment, Hendry realized he was shot in the shoulder. He continued to remain watch in his position while calling for 911 EMS to be en route.
When more officers arrived, Hendry relinquished his position. An ambulance had been summoned, but because the motel was an active crime scene, the EMS crew had to stop about a block away.
Ladson said Hendry drove himself to where the ambulance was waiting to avoid taking another officer from the scene.
Ladson said the suspect surrendered and was taken into custody after a stand-off of several hours.
“Throughout this incident, Officer Hendry showed leadership encouraged by his actions as well as concerned for his fellow officer’s safety before himself,” the chief said on Thursday.
Hendry also received a Purple Heart ribbon for the injuries he sustained and was presented the 2022 MPD Officer of the Year award.
Moultrie Mayor William McIntosh read a proclamation on behalf of the City of Moultrie and the Moultrie City Council. He then expressed his gratitude for Hendry’s bravery.
“What was a really heroic day, it could have been an extremely tragic day. But because of the skills and abilities of our police department and Officer Hendry, we averted a really tragic situation,” McIntosh said.
Hendry has served over 20 years as a Moultrie police officer and as a Colquitt County sheriff’s deputy. Prior to law enforcement, he served in the United States Navy and Army.
“I really appreciate the recognition, and for everyone being here. As the chief said, I’ve been doing this job for two decades and this is one of the few chances and opportunities that I’ve been recognized for, especially in this capacity. I’m here because I really enjoy my job. I enjoy helping the community and being in a place where I can be positive,” Hendry said.