Growing up, Bulloch County sheriff's Cpl. Jody Deal was always shooting. If he wasn't hunting, he was target practicing with his grandfather or having BB gun competitions with his brothers. He enjoys the sport to this day, which might have something to do with his expert marksmanship: He was recently named the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office Top Gun.
"Jody has always excelled as a marksman," said Bulloch County Sheriff Noel Brown. "And, he is really good at leadership skills, getting people out on the range. It's nothing for Jody to shoot a 300 - a perfect score."
Deal came to the department in 1987 after working a year as a Georgia Southern University police officer. He served for 15 years on the Bulloch County Crime Suppression Team SWAT, 14 of those as sniper. He has attended several sniper schools, he said.
But simple target shooting isn't his cup of tea. He would rather take aim at a moving target and be on the move himself as he fires his shots. It is more challenging, he said.
Shooting is "something I've always been halfway decent at," Deal said. "It's about precision. I don't like to just stand and shoot; I like the tactical approach, running and shooting, not just planted there with a stationary target."
On duty, he carries a 22 model Glock 40 caliber handgun, but he prefers shooting his 1911 .45 caliber handgun.
"It is his personality that gets me - a hard hand, handling situations with a smile on his face," Brown said. "He has a caring attitude and always wants to help. There aren't too many people in Bulloch County who don't know Jody Deal - you can't get any better."
Deal has been married his high school sweetheart, Melissia Nesmith Deal, for 31 years and have two adult daughters, Brittany Deal and Jodilyn Deal Bragg.
When not working or target practicing, he enjoys cooking, playing with his dogs, winding down, family time and trips to the beach and the mountains.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.