Georgia Ranger Added to
Law Enforcement Memorial
By Lt. Judd Smith,
Georgia Department of Natural Resources
For years I had heard over and over again that Georgia had lost only one ranger in the line of duty, and all the other rangers I worked with over the years believed this to be the case as well. This was Cpl. Rocky Wainwright. Rocky was killed in 1999 in an ATV accident while searching for a missing little girl. I had never given much thought to this subject until Sgt. Stan Elrod and I became involved with the Police Unity Tour, which is a 250 mile bicycle ride that raises money for the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial in Washington, D.C.
This changed for me as I was talking to Sgt. Wade Law one day. You see, Sgt. Law works in southwest Georgia and his father was a trooper with the Georgia State Patrol back in the 1960’s. He had always told Wade that he knew of at least one other ranger, William Hobbs, who had died in the line of duty in Blakely, Georgia. He said he knew about it because he was there when it happened. When Wade told me about this, it sparked my interest and I looked to see if Hobbs’ name had ever been added to either the Memorial in D.C. or the one in Forsyth at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center. It had not. I had to know more about what had happened to Ranger Hobbs, so Sgt. Law was able to locate Ranger Hobb’s son Hal, now in his 60’s. I also located a copy of a news article from July 10th, 1967, telling of the incident.
I called Hal one day and after introducing myself, told him I had heard about his father and that I would like to know the story if he cared to tell me.