Best Of The Best

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HPD never gave up

By Randy Garrison
For the Enquirer
Any parent can attest to the feeling you get when your child accomplishes something spectacular. How about a parent of the kid who just intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown to win the state championship game, or when one of your children has struggled with a subject and while never giving up brought home an “A”. That feeling you have when your heart skips a beat over their accomplishments.
Well, I could not have been more proud of the men and women who make up Hartselle Police Department than I was last Wednesday. On that date Chief Justin Barley announced to the public that HPD had made arrests in the murder of Larry Sheppard. Multiple arrests have taken place in the case with more expected. Sheppard was murdered in his home on Dawson Street on July 24. The crime occurred in the morning and Hartselle officers discovered the victim later in the evening while doing a requested welfare check at the residence. Larry Sheppard had not shown up for a scheduled court hearing that morning and could not be reached.
After being notified of the crime I went to the residence and from a distance watched as Lt. Linda Fox and CIP Officer Tania Burgess worked the crime scene, with other Hartselle officers. Along with help from Decatur Criminal Investigations and Morgan County Sheriff’s officers as well as District Attorney Scott Anderson and Coroner Jeff Chunn, great police work was happening. It has been shared with me that Investigator Burgess and Lt. Alan McDearmond CID Lieutenant, have worked endless hours without much sleep, working this case.
Even though this occurred in broad open daylight it was not going to be a simple case to solve. However, by sheer grit, determination and hard work the officers never left one stone unturned or a possible clue or information not investigated. This was the first murder to occur in Hartselle since 2006 and was a completely different case than the one 14 years earlier. That crime was solved rather quickly, but this one would be a different animal altogether.
As Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson mentioned on Wednesday, this crime was solved with good old fashioned police work. The tenacity of the officers to chase each lead never let up until they had put all the pieces of the puzzle together. They were determined to find the person or persons responsible for taking the life of Larry Sheppard.
Joining forces with the FBI’s North Alabama Violent Crime Task Force gave HPD additional help and aided in the arrests that have been made in the Sheppard murder. Last Wednesday 4 arrests have been made and just within the last couple of days another arrest linked to the crime, has occurred.
I mentioned earlier I could not be more proud of the officers of HPD for the job they did in making the arrests. Also, they never gave up, never stopped looking for those involved in the death of Larry Sheppard, in order to ensure those who took his life would be brought to justice.
While working to solve this case and get those charged off the street, will not bring their family member back, hopefully these arrests will help Sheppard’s family find some type of closure and know his killers will be brought to justice and will pay for taking the life of Larry Sheppard.
While I only named a few of Hartselle’s finest, many more officers worked behind the scenes, even coming in to the station during time off to work leads and research possibilities.
All of this and the culmination of teamwork and determination led to the arrests.
Hartselle has the finest men and women making up the Police Department and I am proud of each and every one and thank them for their continued service and dedication.

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