Gov. Nathan Deal this week at his Public Safety Awards ceremony in Forsyth recognized 18 public safety professionals for acts of heroism, including a Cartersville-based Georgia State Patrol trooper.
Trooper First Class Jack Lawrence Jr. was one of the 26 award recipients, who were given medallions and had their names added to the Governor’s Public Safety Awards’ monument located inside the Georgia Public Safety Training Center.
Lawrence was patrolling Oct. 2, 2011, "when Bartow County 911 dispatch aired a lookout for a vehicle where the passengers were reportedly shooting at another vehicle. When Lawrence observed a vehicle matching the description and tag number given by Bartow 911, he activated his vehicle’s emergency equipment and notified GSP Cartersville that a pursuit had begun," according to the release.
"As the suspect vehicle attempted to evade pursuit, the driver used both sides of the roadway to negotiate the curves while two passengers leaned from the vehicle and fired shots from a handgun at Lawrence, with one of the shots hitting the front windshield of his patrol car.
"As the pursuit continued, the suspects fired shots at Bartow County Sheriff’s Office Deputy M. Kincer, who had parked her patrol vehicle along GA 20. The driver continued to disregard life and property as he passed vehicles in a no-passing zone and drove on the wrong side of the roadway.
"The pursuit entered Cherokee County, and the suspect vehicle turned onto a gravel road, which became extremely dusty with low visibility. Lawrence continued pursuing the suspects, emerging from the dust to observe the suspect vehicle stop in the roadway with the suspects exiting the vehicle.
"Through gunfire, Lawrence pursued the suspects on foot into a wooded area. After a foot pursuit of approximately 100 yards, Lawrence returned to his vehicle and directed other responding units in establishing a perimeter."
Following were captured the next day.
The annual Governor’s Public Safety Awards program began in 1998 to recognize public safety officers who go above and beyond the call of duty to protect citizens and make significant contributions to the public safety profession at large.
"I am honored to recognize our brave law enforcement officers and emergency responders who risk their lives every day to make our state a safer place," Deal said in the release. "Public safety is one of the most solemn obligations of state government, and I thank these heroes for their selfless commitment to Georgia citizens."
An Act of Heroism award recognizes those who, within the previous year, performed an exceptional deed that resulted in saving lives and/or protecting property.