On Thursday, December 20, 2018, the Valdosta Police Department celebrated the careers of three police department employees who have served the Valdosta community for many years. Detective Calvin Burgess, Detective Choice Barnes, and Captain Raymond Conner all recently retired from the Valdosta Police Department.
Detective Calvin Burgess served over seven years in the Army and began his career at the Valdosta Police Department in 1996. During his career with VPD, Detective Burgess served as a Patrol Officer and later as a Detective. Over the past several years, Detective Burgess has been responsible for scheduling law enforcement of all local Valdosta High School athletic games, as well as escorting them to away games.
Detective Choice Barnes served six years in the Air Force and began his career at the Valdosta Police Department in 1993. Detective Barnes has served as a Patrol Officer, School Resource Officer, and now as a detective. In 2004, Detective Barnes joined the FBI Gang Taskforce and he has been a member of the FBI Southwest Georgia Gang Taskforce since then. He has also been recognized as an expert witness in the courtroom, testifying in crimes involving gang members and gang activity.
Captain Raymond Conner began his career at the Valdosta Police Department in 1980. During his 38-year career, he has served as a Patrol Officer, Detective, Drug Agent with the Lowndes/Valdosta/Brooks Taskforce, Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain. Captain Conner has also served as one of the department’s Hostage Negotiators. He has served on several community boards on behalf of the police department, to include the Lowndes County Family and Children Services. Captain Conner served on the committee for the City of Valdosta Christmas Parade. In this position, he was responsible for ensuring the safety of all the participants, providing officers to monitor the parade and make sure intersections were cleared so the parade could travel through smoothly.
At the ceremony, the Valdosta Police Department’s Interim Chief Leslie Manahan also recognized the families of these three retirees. “In some cases, these families have given up many holidays, birthdays, nights and weekends so that their loved ones can protect the Valdosta community,” said Manahan.
“This is the hardest decision I've had to make in my life. I thought about this for a long time and it was truly a family decision with my wife, mom, and my kids. I know that my wife will be able to rest a little easier," said Detective Calvin Burgess, "I love the Valdosta Police Department. I love what VPD stands for. I've enjoyed my time here."
The City of Valdosta is proud of these employees who are retiring and starting the next phases of their lives. Congratulations and thank you for your service!