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Hinesville police officer honored for keeping his cool in heated situation
Officer Timothy Conley
U.S. Army CID assistant special agent in charge Billy Higgason shakes the hand of Hinesville Officer Timothy Conley after Officer Conley was recognized for keeping his cool during an arrest earlier this year of a hostile soldier. Photo by Pat Donahue

Keeping a cool head in a heated situation earned a Hinesville Police Department officer thanks from the city and Fort Stewart.

Officer Timothy Conley was recognized for his actions during an arrest back in February, where a National Guard soldier claimed to be a military police officer and later said he was a Criminal Investigation Division special agent.

“When he does something absolutely right, when he goes above and beyond the call of duty in that situation, that officer is recognized,” said HPD Chief Lloyd Slater.

“We rightly commend officers for their heroic actions in high-profile incidents,” said Billy Higgason, Fort Stewart CID assistant special agent in charge. “But many in the public do not appreciate our officers’ handling of routine tasks. A routine encounter can quickly turn deadly.”

Higgason said one of a law enforcement officer’s duties is establishing control and de-escalating volatile situations in encounters with citizens.

“Officer Conley adeptly controlled the situation, despite the soldier being extremely belligerent, profane and aggressively escalating the encounter,” Higgason said. “The soldier continued to berate Officer Conley and attempted to intimidate Officer Conley.

“Despite the soldier’s hostility and steady barrage of insults, Officer Conley exhibited the highest degree of professionalism.”

Chief Slater said officers are under constant review for their interactions with the public.

“What most people don’t realize is the level of scrutiny that is paid to each officer’s actions from within the agency itself,” he said.

At the end of their shifts, each officer is required to download his body camera footage, and that video is reviewed by several different entities, Slater noted.

“One of the things I look for is the officer’s demeanor during a high-stress situation,” Slater said. “Is he able to control his heart rate? Is he able to slow down his breathing? Is he able to take control of what’s going on inside of himself?

“When an officer is able to do that, move aside his flight or fight instinct and go to this training, then he’s reached a level of professionalism we expect from each and every one of our officers.”

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