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McDuffie mourns fallen local deputy

Deputy Jerome Jackson of the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department loved being a lawman and helping people.

He also loved entertaining people with his jokes. And when he was younger, he loved professional wrestling so much that he actually became one, as well as a body builder.

His real love and calling, though, was law enforcement. It was something Deputy Jackson did for many, many years - having first begun his law enforcement career with the Augusta Police Department, working as a patrolman. He later left and went to the Wrens Police Department before joining the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department where he had worked since 1998 as a road patrol deputy.

Deputy Jackson, 52, was known as "Mobile 14" to dispatchers and others who heard transmissions over police scanners.

Deputy Jackson passed away last Friday - his death believed to be a heart attack, according to preliminary findings from an autopsy that was performed on Saturday at the Georgia State Crime Lab in Augusta, said McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall.

He was behind the wheel of his patrol car in downtown Dearing when the attack occurred. His car then struck a minivan, causing very minor damage to the vehicles, according to Georgia State Trooper Ben Rollins.

Funeral services for the Deputy Jackson are set for 11 a.m. this Saturday in the gymnasium of Warren County High School in Warrenton. Thomson Funeral System is in charge of arrangements. The funeral procession is expected to include numerous law enforcement agencies from throughout the Central Savannah River Area.

Deputy Jackson was married to Santeeba Jackson and had four children. In the past, he twice ran unsuccessfully to become sheriff of Warren County - the county where he grew up. Just a few weeks ago, he had hinted that he might try a third time to win election to the highest law enforcement job in the county.

As a professional wrestler, Deputy Jackson fought under the name of "Super Star." And old business card was still stuck in a family photo book on Monday night as family members thumbed through it.

"He always had a lot of fun getting into the ring and wrestling," recalled Deputy Jackson's oldest son, Andrew Jackson, who is now 30 and living and working as a fork lift operator in Gwinnett County. "I was just a little boy, but I can remember him telling me stories about the time he wrestled."

Deputy Jackson wrestled at Bell Auditorium in Augusta, The National Guard Armory in Thomson, Rome, Ga. and other cities and counties in the Peach State.

"He really liked performing for the people who came out and watched him," said his fraternal twin brother, Gerold Jackson, who lives and works in Atlanta as a truck driver. "He was a good-hearted guy. We had some great times together, especially playing together as kids."

Deputy Jackson, whose nickname was "Skint," will be remembered By his son, Andrew, "as a person who loved everybody. If he had a sad day, you'd never know it, because he just tried to smile it off. His smile could light up everything around him."

One of the fondest memories that Mr. Jackson has of his Dad was when, as a youngster, he dressed in his Dad's police uniform.

"That was a lot of fun dressing up as a police officer, like my Dad," said Mr. Jackson.

A number of his colleagues at the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department were visibly shaken last Friday, as was evident when they gathered at the emergency room of the McDuffie Regional Medical Center to console one another, as well as some of Deputy Jackson's family. Several dispatchers, ambulance and fire personnel also felt the grief, too, because they had worked with Deputy Jackson and knew him as a friend in many cases.

Even law enforcement personnel from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Georgia State Patrol dropped By to offer their condolences, as did officers with the Thomson and Wrens police departments.

"Jerome was a good fellow," said his boss, Sheriff Marshall. "Jerome really loved law enforcement. It's all he ever wanted to do. He'll be greatly missed."

The sheriff said losing a deputy like Mr. Jackson "is hard on everybody within his department."

One of the things Sheriff Marshall said he'll miss most about Deputy Jackson is the way he could tell a joke. "He had a good time telling jokes and then could get just as serious when it came to his job in law enforcement."

McDuffie County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton, who gathered at the hospital last week, too, said, "We lost a great man within our sheriff's department. He's going to missed. I extend my heartfelt sympathies to Mr. Jackson's family on behalf of everyone who works and lives in McDuffie County."

Deputy Jackson also served as a bailiff for McDuffie County Probate Judge Valerie Burley. She called him, "very dedicated to his duties as a deputy sheriff."

Web posted on Thursday, June 21, 2007

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