Former Statesboro Police chief Richard Malone left a legacy behind when he retired from the force in 2001, and will be missed by friends, family and those who he helped become the law enforcement officers they are today.
Malone died Thursday morning at his home in Milledgeville of an apparent heart attack. He had recently ended a three-year term as deputy chief of the Milledgeville Police Department, having come out of retirement in 2007 to take on that role.
Stan York, also a former Statesboro police chief, recalled "Bulldog Malone," as he was fondly known, had a tenacity unequaled by others.
"If he ever got a little bit of information... he wouldn't let it go until he solved the case," he said.
Statesboro Police Commander J. R. Holloway recalled Malone's nickname as well. "He didn't let up. That was a good nickname for him," he said. "He was a smart one. Everybody knew if you had Richard Malone on your trail, you might as well turn yourself in."
Malone began his career with the Statesboro Police in 1976, after having worked as a Bulloch County Sheriff's deputy. Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson was not immediately available Thursday for comment about Malone's passing.
Malone moved through the ranks, leading almost every unit in the department, becoming detective, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and major before being named chief in 1991. His reputation as a criminal investigator was exemplary.
"I loved him like a father," said Statesboro Police Capt. Scott Brunson, who not only worked with Malone, but lived across the road from him since his childhood. Brunson grew up knowing Malone and looking to him as a mentor.
"He was a true law enforcement officer," he said. "I wouldn't be who I am if it wasn't for him. You look up law enforcement professional in the dictionary and there should be a picture of Richard Malone."
Malone was a graduate of the 119th session of the Federal Bureau of Investigations National Academy program and had thousands of hours of advanced law enforcement training to his credit. He was a past President of the Georgia Chapter of the FBI National Academy Associates, was a life member of the Peace Officers Association of Georgia, and a member of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. Chief Malone was active in each of these organizations upon his death.
"Today is a very sad day for the Statesboro Police Department," said Statesboro Public Safety Director Wendell Turner . "We have lost one of our own. Chief Malone was a mentor, true leader, and a man of upmost character that we all respected. Chief Malone hired me as a patrol officer some 17 years ago and I have been very fortunate to follow his path to my current position within the agency."
Holloway said "He was a friend of mine and taught me all he knew. He would tell us ‘go ahead and get it while you can get it because you can't go back and get it tomorrow."
"He loved his family," Brunson said. "He was a true servant and loved serving the people of Statesboro. He viewed himself as the protector of the City of Statesboro."
Malone was very dedicated to his profession, York said. "He just absolutely loved it. He was a dear friend and I valued his friendship and professionalism. He set a standard and expected us to follow it. He is another good cop that God needed up in Heaven."
"We're going to miss him," Holloway said. "A lot of people ( needed law enforcement help) would call and ask for Richard especially. He was the best."
Visitation for Malone will be Sunday, from 4-6 p.m., at Williams Funeral Home in Milledgeville. The funeral will be Monday, Oct. 18, at 11 a.m. at Milledgeville First Methodist Church. Burial will follow at Baldwin Memorial Gardens.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at 912-489-9414.