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Community gathers to mourn Polk Detective Kristen Hearne

Friends, family and law enforcement from across the state gathered to celebrate the life of Detective Kristen Hearne, remembering her as a fallen hero and bright and shining light in the world around her.

Hundreds of vehicles escorted Hearne to Oak Grove Cemetery and laid her to rest following funeral services held on Oct. 3 at Victory Baptist Church to honor the fallen Polk County Police detective, who died in the line of duty on Sept. 29 after she was shot backing up an officer on a suspicious vehicle call.

Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd provided a stirring and emotional message to the family and community about his fallen officer.

"Detective Cpl. Kristen Hearne gave her life. She will always be remembered as a hero," he said.

He provided a rundown of her career — service with the Floyd County Sheriff's Office from 2008 to 2012 before joining the force and becoming a detective the next year in 2013 — as a woman of passion for the job of policing and a shining example of an officer who went above and beyond the call of duty for her brothers and sisters in law enforcement.

"She had a big heart that allowed her to show compassion when she needed to show compassion, and a stern exterior of a warrior, and could be stern," Dodd said. "She had tremendous respect for the badge and what it stood for: honor, integrity, courage and devotion."

He added that he hoped all his fellow officers in law enforcement would look to her as an example of what a police officer can be if dedicated to the job. Dodd also called on unity among police agencies, and a continued focus on safety for those serving in the line of duty.

A powerful moment came as Hearne's mother, Patricia Brewer, brought her grandson Isaac up to the stage.

She told the funeral gathering how much her daughter loved Isaac, and how much of a miracle he is to the entire Hearne family.

Brewer said too that she was still struggling with the loss of her daughter, but would continue to remain strong and keep her daughter's memory alive for her grandson.

Flags flew at half staff across the state in honor of Hearne, done so by executive order of Gov. Nathan Deal, who said that all Georgians honored her service and remembered her heroism through his declaration, presented by Governor's Office of Highway Safety Director Harris Blackwood.

Deal's message included condolences, and called for those who grieve her loss to remember the joy she brought to everyone's life and her "lifelong dedication to law enforcement."

Additionally, the governor's message delivered by Blackwood called on all Georgians to come together and honor those who serve in public safety.

"As governor, it grieves me to lose such a great member of our police forces," the governor's statement said. "The freedoms and opportunities we are blessed to enjoy are a direct result of the courage and dedicated service and sacrifice made by the men and women of law enforcement."

Blackwood also mentioned prior to reading Deal's statement that among Hearne's many qualifications as a police officer, included among them was her ability to install and certify child safety seats.

"She was set to attend a class this week to be recertified," Blackwood said.

Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome, who also provided a message to the gathering, called for Polk County police officers to not hold in their grief, but to come together as a police department and remember their fallen comrade together.

He also told the family he understood why they would never get over the loss of Detective Hearne, and hoped they would draw on all the support that Polk County has given them in the days following the loss of a wife, mother, daughter and friend.

"Let the community love you as you love each other," Newsome said.


Support for Hearne family is growing

The outpouring of support and love for the family of Detective Kristen Hearne following her death continues to grow, and now efforts are underway to remember her in another way by providing future help for her and Lt. Matt Hearne's 3-year-old son Isaac.

A GoFundMe campaign was started by Polk Police Chief Kenny Dodd to establish a trust fund for Isaac. Thus far nearly $2,000 has been donated, and promises of more are coming.

"Our goal is to put money aside in a trust fund for Isaac so that when he turns 18 when he graduates from school, he'll have money to do whatever with his life," Dodd said. "We just felt like as a police department that we want to take care of Isaac because we feel like that's what Kristen would want us to do. So we've started this trust with the permission of (Matt)."

Legal work to establish the trust is being handled by the County Attorney Brad McFall with the help of his partner Wright Gammon.

Those who want to make contributions but don't want to go through the hassle of going online can write checks directly to the Isaac Hearne Trust Fund and leave them at the Polk County Police Department, Dodd said.

Additionally, Dodd said those who want memorial T-shirts to honor Hearne can purchase them through the Polk County Police Department, with proceeds going to the trust fund as well. Those interested can call the office at 770-748-7331 and tell the secretaries their information such as sizes and quantities, and bring money by, with those who wish to order able to pick them up after delivery and will be contacted by the police department.

"We just want to make sure that when Isaac comes of age, he'll have the choice to do whatever he decides he wants to do," Dodd said.

Joining in that effort is Sherry Anderson, who is organizing efforts to allow people to purchase T-shirts honoring Detective Hearne while also making donations to the trust. T-shirt sales are $10 for youth sizes, and adult small through adult extra large for $12, and larger sizes than that at $15.

The next round of orders going to the printer is Oct. 16, so Anderson has asked that those interested in making a purchase to get orders in by Oct. 11.

Shirts can be purchased through the City of Aragon at their office or by calling 770-684-6563, or through Anderson directly at 678-901-2065. All the profits from the shirts will go the fund.

"Everyone is getting a receipt for their shirts, and I'm going to turn all the funds over to Chief Dodd whenever we get them to contribute to the trust being setup," Anderson said.

Georgia Vinyl and Thread are starting off printing orders for local officers first who already put in orders, she added.

Additional efforts for fundraising include April Sosebee and Beth White to organize a benefit barbecue for the Hearne family. It will be held on Oct. 21 from 12 to 4 p.m. at the Polk County Police Department, with all funds also going toward the trust fund being established for Isaac.

Plates will be $8 each. Tickets are on sale now at Polk County Police Department, the Aragon Police Department, through Jada Campbell Edwards at the City of Rockmart, Kattie Trammell with the Polk County Emergency Management Agency and ALLSTAR Motors in Rockmart. Sosebee, White and Richelle Barber Dodd are also selling tickets as well in the community ahead of the barbecue sale itself. A local Redmond EMS driver is also joining efforts to help raise money for Hearne's family. Alex Hazell said his moonlighting business Hazell Bladesmithing and Forge will be raffling off one of his custom made knives with a sheath during an Oct. 25 livestream on his Facebook page. Those interested can purchase tickets for $5 each or 5 for 20 through Oct. 22, and can be purchased through the Cedartown Fire Department, Rockmart Fire Department, from any off duty Polk County 911 operator or Redmond EMS employee.

He's also accepting PayPal for those not in the area who want a chance to purchase tickets and help out Hearne's family and those interested can message him directly via his business' Facebook page; 100 percent of the funds will go directly to help the Hearne family, Hazell said.

A GoFundMe campaign was also started by attorney Jessi Glover of Cedartown, and has already exceeded a goal of $5,000 since it was started on Sept. 29, and has $6,000 pledged from 117 people in just five days when last check on Oct. 5.

The campaign is still going, Glover said. "I didn't know her personally, but my husband is a police officer in Rome," she said. "Her husband is a cop too. I'm a stranger with good intentions."

"I intend to keep it open until donations slow," she said. "So far there hasn't been a day that it hasn't gotten several donations. I've been excited by the community and how well they've responded to this, helping his (Matt Hearne's) family out when they just lost her."

She said she felt it was the right thing to do.

Also raising money for the Hearne family is Thinbluelineusa.com selling the National Police Flag wristbands in honor of Detective Hearne.

According to Peter Forhan, a spokesperson for the fundraising site, this was Thin Blue Line's 40th campaign so far in 2017. The website began in late 2016 following the death of an officer in Detroit City, Mich., after the site's founders couldn't find a national organization that raised money online specifically for officer's families.

"We sell the bracelets for all of our fundraisers," Forhan explained. "We see it as a way that we can bridge communities across the country in support for law enforcement."

So far the campaign has raised $3,000 for Hearne, and is linked to another online campaign at Officerdown.us started by a user known only as "Jenni." They have raised another $625.00 as of this report for the family as well.

Efforts to establish a trust fund in honor of Hearne for her son Isaac are still underway, according to County Manager Matt Denton. More information about that fund and ways to donate will be forthcoming as soon as it is available.


DA to seek death penalty in shooting

Seth Brandon Spangler

Samantha Roof

Michael Anthony Fossett Jr.

The state will seek the death penalty in a growing case against a pair of suspects arrested following the shooting death of Detective Kristen Hearne in past weeks.

Tallapoosa Circuit District Attorney Jack Browning told the court before the opening proceedings in the case could get underway that it was his intention to pursue capital punishment for Hearne's death and for shooting Polk County Police Officer David Goodrich, who took rounds in his bulletproof vest before returning fire and wasn't seriously hurt in the shootout.

Browning told a courtroom packed with law enforcement and Hearne's family he would be recalling the grand jury in November to hear the charges on this case and one more that's connected.

Seth Brandon Spangler, 31, and Samantha Roof, 22, both of a Chattanooga address, were formally read their rights by the court and charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and theft by receiving stolen property. Spangler also faces a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Both remained in jail without bail after facing their first hearing before Superior Court Judge Michael Murphy on Oct. 2. Also charged in connection to the events on Sept. 29 is Roof's brother, Michael Anthony Fossett Jr., also of a Chattanooga address.

According to GBI Office of Public Affairs Director Nelly Miles, Fossett was attempting to pick up Roof, who is his sister, following the shooting and was apprehended by law enforcement in the process.

She added that officers were still searching for the firearm used to kill Hearne and knock down Officer David Goodrich in the Sept. 29 shooting in the Santa Claus Road area, as well as Spangler's clothing.

They were out last week canvassing the area with no results as of press time last week.

Hearne and officer David Goodrich were investigating a resident's complaint about a suspicious vehicle described as a Ford Escape last Friday morning when Spangler and Roof approached them.

They began to talk and police say Spangler pulled out a handgun and shot both officers.

The suspects fled into the heavily wooded area of Polk County and Roof was arrested less than an hour later. Spangler was captured around 2:45 p.m. when he walked out of the woods near some police officers involved in the search.

Hearne was transported to Polk Medical Center where lifesaving efforts continued for nearly an hour before she was pronounced dead. Goodrich, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, was unharmed in the incident.

Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd said during Hearne's funeral on Tuesday that the shooting occurred within less than a minute of the detective's arrival on the scene as back-up for Goodrich.

"It's clear to me that they were ambushed," he said.

He added that Goodrich was a hero due to his actions shortly following Hearne going down from gunshot wounds, and himself being hit in the bulletproof vest.

"It's extremely painful to get hit in the vest, but despite that pain he was able to return fire on the suspects before they fled," Dodd said. "And despite that pain, and due to his years of training as an EMT, he was able to perform CPR on her for 10 minutes and helped keep her alive until rescue personnel could arrive."

Additional details about the case are expected this week from law enforcement. Check back on Polkstandardjournal.com to find updates.


Area Calendar of Events

The annual State of the Community address is coming up on Tuesday, Oct. 24 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. with a focus on the state of government, industrial development, workforce and education and the state of service at In the Woods in Rockmart. Tickets are $25 and include heavy hors d'oeuvres. Contact the Polk County Chamber of Commerce for tickets and more information at polkgeorgia.com or by calling 770-684-8760.

Rockmart's annual Riverwalk Festival on the Euharlee is coming up in Oct. 21. Visit rockmart-ga.gov for more information about how to sign up to become a vendor and to participate in festivities.

The next West Georgia Spay/Neuter Clinic is coming to the Cedartown-Polk County Humane Society on Wednesday, Oct. 11. Head over to the organization's office at 608 Adam - son Road, Cedartown, on Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m. or Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to fill out an admission and prepay for the surgery. Those wanting more information can call 678-361-7304 for more information. Vaccines and tests are available for extra cost as well. The next pickup date available is Oct. 25.

Tickets are on sale now for a barbecue fundraiser to donate to the family of Detective Kristen Hearne of the Polk County Police Department. The barbecue will be from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Polk County Police Department, 73 Cline Ingram Jackson Drive in Cedartown. Tickets can be purchased from the Aragon Police Department, through Jada Campbell Edwards at the City of Rockmart, Kattie Trammell with the Polk County Emergency Management Agency and ALLSTAR Motors in Rockmart. Sosebee, Beth White and Richelle Barber Dodd are also selling tickets as well ahead of the barbecue itself. Find the trio on Facebook for more information.

A raffle will be held on Oct. 25 to draw for the winner of a custom made knife and sheath produced by Alex Hazell of Hazel Bladesmithing and Forge. Those interested in participating can purchase tickets for $5 each, or 5 for $20 at facebook.com/hazellforge.

Order T-shirts now through the Polk County Police Department to help raise funds for the trust of Isaac Hearne. Contact 770-748-7331 to find out more details.

Also selling T-shirts is Sherry Anderson, with the next order being finalized today. Call the City of Aragon 770-684-6563, or through Anderson directly at 678-901-2065 for more information.

Have a fundraising event for the Hearne family? Email kmyrick@npco.com or call 770-748-1520 to share how people can donate to your efforts.

Taylorsville Baptist Church Homecoming Service is being held Sunday, October 15th, 10:30 a.m. Rev. Keith Dempsey will deliver the Homecoming message. Special music, led by music minister, Chris Thomas. Homecoming meal will follow in the church fellowship hall. Pastor Richard Goodwin and all the members of Taylorsville Baptist invite you to come and enjoy this special day of remembrance and worship. Taylorsville Baptist Church, located at 19 church St., Taylorsville, corner of Church and Main Streets.

In charge of community relations at your local church? The Polk County Chamber of Commerce wants to talk to you. They are organizing an updated directory of houses of worship in the community and are hoping for the help of those organizers who want to get their information to as many people as possible. E-mail Mandy Mallicoat at mmallicoat@polkgeorgia.com or call 770-684-8760 for more information about being included in their updated church directory.

Brandy Harris and Lee Lundy are holding an acting technique class. The focus of the class will be to ground actors into a firm foundation and give them a solid technique to use for every role in which they play. We will be focusing specifically on the Meisner Technique which is rooted in the idea that each actor should "live truthfully under imaginary circumstances." Both instructors have trained extensively in this technique. We will also have at least one surprise guest who will attend and do a workshop with the class. This class is for everyone who is looking to begin acting, or who is an actor looking for more serious training. The class will conclude in a scene showcase that will be performed at the Cedartown Performing Arts Center. Cost is $100/month. Classes continue through Dec. 18, 2017, and will continue after the new year at a date/time that works for members who join the class. Contact 770-608-8147 for more information.

Taylorsville Baptist Church, 19 Church St., Taylorsville, will hold their fall revival starting on Oct. 22 at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., and continues from Oct. 23 through 25 at 7 p.m. nightly. Guest evangelist, Rusty Womack, Pastor of Lost Mountain Baptist Church, will be preaching. Special music will be presented each service.

The Cedartown Sole Mates Introductory Line Dance Classes continue this Thursday through the next few weeks. The classes are from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Senior Center at 605 Lynton Drive (Northwest Park) in Cedartown. There is no charge for the classes and you do not have to be a senior to participate. After the last class, participants are encouraged to join in our regular classes. If you miss the first class, we can help you catch up. For details call Helen Keefer at 770-749-1962.

Get out to the Polk County Extension Service's annual twice-weekly vegetable market before the of the month of October to get fresh produce from local farmers. Market vendors gather on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at Peek's Park in Cedartown. Call the extension office at 770-749-2142 for more information or to learn how to participate.

The Sit 'n Stitch crafters group meet each Wednesday except the last Wednesday of the month. Bring a sack lunch, a project of your own, or help out with a mission project and enjoy fellowship with other crafters. No special skills are required. For details contact Madeline Brown at 678-435-5032.

Check out the Rockmart Farmers Market at the Silver Comet Trailhead behind Southcrest Bank on Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m. from now through Thanksgiving. Visit Rockmartfarmersmarket.com for details about vendors and upcoming classes.

Tickets are on sale now for a Veteran's Day concert in Cedartown. Visit Cedartownshows.com for more information to find out how to purchase tickets now for event being held at the Cedartown Performing Arts Center on Nov. 11. Prices are $12 in advance and $16 at the door. Free admission for all veterans and active duty personnel.

Pleasant Hill Baptist Church invites the community to come celebrate a big anniversary for one of their own. Bro. Earl Partain Sr. is being honored for his first sermon in October 1967, and will be gathering on this Oct. 7 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the church, located at 840 Doyle Road in Cedartown. Dinner will be provided. For more information, contact 770-841-3494.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are providing opportunities to local residents interested in hearing the message of Jesus Christ. For more information about how you can speak to local Elders, contact 687-852-7497, or visit their meeting house at 10005 N. Main St., Cedartown for worship services at 10 a.m. on Sundays.

Please join in the festivities coming up for the Cedartown High School Class of 1977's 40-year reunion coming up on Saturday, Oct. 21. Please visit the reunion's website www.chs1977reunion.com for registration and details, or contact Patty D. Tillery at 770-748-9038.

The Eastside Elementary School's annual Fall Festival is coming up this month, and promises to provide plenty of fun for the whole community. It'll feature a spooky science night, representatives from the Rockmart Fire and Police Departments and Redmond Regional Medical Center, plus inflatable play areas, a petting zoo, hayrides, carnival games, cake walk and more. Wristbands are on sale with unlimited access to games, inflatables and most activities. Food and drink will be on sale with cash only available with Chick-fil-A, Timbo's Smokehouse and others participating. Call the school at 770-684-5335.

The Polk County Police Department and Dr. Mark Wall are teaming up with Blood Assurance to host a drive in the coming weeks on Oct. 24, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Board of Commissioners meeting room at the Polk County Police Department. Those who donate will be eligible for a drawing for two winners of a $100 prize, and potentially more. Blood donations will go to help provide a supply to the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas due to the loss of many of their facilities. Want more information? Visit bloodassurance.org or call Andy Anderson at the Polk County PD at 770-748-7331.

The next spaghetti dinner at American Legion Post 12 will be on Wednesday, Oct. 18. The meal is spaghetti, meatballs, garlic toast and salad, $5, all-you-can-eat. Triv ia with Tom and Betty starts at 6 p.m. All money raised go to Veteran and children programs.

The Stocks family is once again gathering to help feed the community a Thanksgiving dinner for their 9th year at the Nathan Dean Community Center in Rockmart on Nov. 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Donations for the love feast will be accepted, and those who wish to help can contact Stocks at 678-719-1981. She's seeking help with a number of items for giveaways along with food. Toys and grab bags will also be available for local youth, and entertainment and fun for families will be had by all.

The Cedartown Optimist Club selling the Turkey Raffle tickets for $1 each and in a giveaway of 15 turkeys this year. Those interested purchase tickets from any Optimist Club member, with all proceeds go to the development of our youth. Ticket sales end with the raffle drawing on Nov. 16.

The Ferst Foundation Community Action Team meets the first Monday of the month at 5 p.m., alternately in Cedartown and Rockmart. Call 404-862-1273 for the meeting location. Find out more about how to help improve childhood literacy in Polk County at ferstfoundation.org.

The Georgia Legal Services Program's Claire Sherburne will be on hand at One Door Polk in Cedartown every fourth Monday to help those in need with free civil legal services to low-income persons. This includes cases related to housing, employment, education, domestic violence, consumer fraud, wills, and more. Call 404206-5175 for more information.

The Polk County Alzheimer's Caregiver Support group will meet monthly on the first Monday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Polk Medical Center. Those interested can join for fellowship and lunch in the cafeteria. For more information call John Giglio at 678-246-8188.

Join the Church of God of the Union Assembly, 32 Prospect Road, Rockmart, for praise and worship weekly. The church welcomes anyone to come and worship regularly on Sundays and Wednesdays as well. Praise and youth services are held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday nights, and services start at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday following Sunday School at 9:45 a.m. Call Pastor Jesse Starnes at 678-757-4572 for more information.

The Polk County Beekeepers meets the first Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon at the Cedartown Library, 245 East Ave. Whether you are an experienced beekeeper, new beekeeper or want to learn all are welcome. For details email polkcountybeekeepers@gmail.com or visit tinyurl.com/polkbees.

Cedartown Supper Club every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Held at 71 Woodall Road. Seventh-day Adventist Church. Enjoy a vegetarian supper and participate in a lecture on healthy, happy living. Free and for all ages. Each evening provides a different menu and lecture topic. For more information call 678-901-9184.

Victory Baptist Church's Bread of Life Food Pantry is now open. One bag of non-perishable food, five items to pick from produce, eggs and milk and two items from frozen meats, breads and others will be available. ID is required. Limit of two IDs per address. Regular hours are Mondays, 1 to 3 p.m.; Tuesdays, 5 to 7 p.m.; and Thursdays, 8 to 10 a.m.

Interested in becoming a Foster or Adoptive Parent? Open your heart to a child in need and find out how you can help. Join others who seek the love of a child every second Tuesday night of each month at 6 p.m. at Polk County Division of Family and Children Services office, 100 County Loop Road in Cedartown. Information sessions explain what is required to become a foster or adoptive parent in Georgia. For more information please call Robin Forston at 404-895-6517 or email robin.forston@dhs.ga.gov or call 1-877-210KIDS. Visit www.fostergeorgia.com for more information.