GREENSBORO, Ga. - McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall was sworn into office as the first black lawman to ever serve as president of the Georgia Sheriff's Association during the group's annual banquet held at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation last Thursday night.
"I am humbled and honored to be elected as president of the Georgia Sheriff's Association," Sheriff Marshall told a crowd of about 200 people attending. "Being president of this association is not about Logan Marshall. It is about the kids of this state - not only the ones that are in youth homes that we care for, but the ones that are in our counties not being cared for."
Sheriff Marshall, who has served as the chief law enforcement officer of McDuffie County since his countywide election in 1992, said tough economic times have created shortfalls in state funding for the association's youth homes. Currently, there are about 84 kids in the association's youth homes - approximately 60 kids shy of last year's number.
The sheriff explained that state DFACS officials had relocated those kids to either foster homes or with other relatives, because of budget constraints.
"As president of this association, I'm asking every sheriff in this state to get more involved in helping youth homes with any type of fundraiser," Sheriff Marshall said.
Prior to becoming the new president of the Georgia Sheriff's Association, Sheriff Marshall had served as first vice-president. The 60-year-old Thomson lawman said he plans to travel all over the state, promoting the sheriff's group and youth homes.
"I have a lot to learn," Sheriff Marshall admitted. "But I'm fortunate that I have a lot of people willing to help me and they are just a phone call away."
Sheriffs from across the state congratulated Sheriff Marshall following his first official comments to the group as their new president. He replaces Jefferson County Sheriff Gary Hutchins, who held the same position for a year.
"Logan is going to do a great job" leading the Georgia Sheriff's Association, Sheriff Hutchins said. "For me, it's been an honor and pleasure to have served as president for the past year."
Sheriff Marshall and other newly-elected officers of the Georgia Sheriff's Association were officially sworn into office by McDuffie County Chief Magistrate William Bryant Swan, Jr.
"I think it's an honor for Logan to have reached this high an honor," Judge Swan said.
The judge's father, former McDuffie County Sheriff William Swan, also attended the banquet. The elder Mr. Swan, who retired in 1992, said he couldn't be happier for Sheriff Marshall. The newly-elected president of the Georgia Sheriff's Association formerly served under Sheriff Swan as chief deputy and later as chief investigator.
"Logan is a fine sheriff and he'll do a fine job as the new president of the Georgia Sheriff's Association," Mr. Swan said. "I know Logan to be straight and honest. He treats everybody the same - with fairness."
Sheriff Marshall also received congratulations from one of his longtime deputies, Sgt. First Class Mike Hobbs, who drove up while on vacation to be with his boss for the historical occasion.
"I'm real proud for him," Sgt. Hobbs said. "I know what kind of fellow he is and how good a man he is. The Georgia Sheriff's Association is fortunate to have him lead them."
A number of other sheriffs, as well as the state's top prosecutor, expressed similar sentiments during interviews with The McDuffie Mirror.
"He's a true sheriff's sheriff," Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker said, describing Sheriff Marshall as a man with a quite demeanor. "Some people have to stand on a table and shout to get respect, but Logan can whisper and get respect. That's the kind of respect that Logan Marshall commands."
Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee said of Sheriff Marshall: "McDuffie County is lucky to have a sheriff the caliber of Logan Marshall. You can always depend on him. I know he's helped us with a number of criminal investigations over the years and handles himself in such a professional way."
Sheriff Massee, who served as president of the Georgia Sheriff's Association from 1996-97, nominated Sheriff Marshall as the group's new president.
"We're very excited about him becoming our new president," Sheriff Massee said. "He'll be an outstanding president."
Burke County Sheriff Gregory T. Coursey was highly congratulatory of Sheriff Marshall becoming the new president.
"I've known Logan for many years," Sheriff Coursey said. "He's a great sheriff and been a great friend of mine since July 1981. I can remember telling Sheriff Swan at the time that he sure had a good investigator in Mr. Marshall as we worked a murder case together."
The slaying case that Sheriff Coursey referenced was one in which seven persons were shot to death by Hill Rivers during a July Fourth crime spree that ventured into three counties, McDuffie, Burke and Jefferson.
"He'll bring such integrity and professionalism to the presidency," Sheriff Coursey said. "He's such a no non-sense person. He's strictly about business."
DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown said he first met Sheriff Marshall in 2001, shortly after he was elected sheriff himself.
"He's a level-headed sheriff - a man who will represent the kind of image we all want for the Georgia Sheriff's Association," Sheriff Brown said. "I look forward to helping him anyway that I can."