NWGA Scanner | February 9th, 2021

Floyd County officers commended for their rescue of hikers

The police department has recognized the determination and bravery of two night shift patrol officers who cut a path up the side of a mountain to rescue a hiker and his young son. These officers have been awarded Officers of the Fourth Quarter for 2020. On the evening of December 5, 2020 shortly after 6 p.m., E-911 advised of a lost hiker who was lost on John’s Mountain; a call which was a transferred into Floyd from Chattooga County 911. This led to Pfc. Cody Lanier and Pfc. Cody George responding to the area, along with the Department of Natural Resources and other FCPD officers.  The actual location of the lost hiker was unknown, but the original dispatchers were able to determine he was parked at Look Out Point in Walker County. The hiker, who only had 3 percent battery remaining on his mobile phone, had hiked to the falls but had gotten lost along the way. Emergency dispatchers attempted several times to obtain a general location of the hiker using his cell service location, but the results were very broad and ranging. During the process of working with 911 to ping the phone for a location, rescuers discovered that the hiker was in the company of his 10-year-old son. Temperatures were now frigid and it was after sunset so a helicopter with infrared capability was requested. Life Force Aviation (Erlanger) was able to respond before Georgia State Patrol and spotted two people on a ridge with a small fire. DNR played a crucial role during this incident by having communication with Life Force Aviation and Georgia State Patrol Aviation as well of providing aerial maps of the area. Their officers also provided infrared markers for the officers to wear and lights to mark the trail.  The only option to for a successful rescue mission was for FCPD officers to hike up the mountain to the hiker’s location. Pfc. Lanier and Pfc. George selflessly volunteered to make this hike, not knowing what terrain lay ahead. Pfc. Lanier and Pfc. George began hiking up the mountain with guidance from the helicopter crew. Life Force at one point had to leave the area for refueling, leaving Pfc. Lanier and Pfc. George to hike up the mountain with no navigation. At times the terrain was impassable and required officers to climb using their hands. Even with the treacherous terrain, the patrol officers were fervent in their task to rescue the hiker and child, which took several hours to accomplish. Never once did the officers complain or consider giving up. Pfc. Lanier and Pfc. George were able to successfully locate the missing hikers with assistance from GSP Aviation, which was equipped with mapping technology. The officers were able to successfully deliver the hiker and his child back to safety through help of other assisting agencies. The actions of the patrol officers show a level of professionalism and dedication to the citizens of Floyd County that they swore to protect and serve. Their actions exemplify the qualities of a police officer and go beyond their daily duties.