SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The body of a Georgia Southern Police Department officer was escorted back to Statesboro from Memorial Health in Savannah, Monday morning.
The department says Officer Tristan Clemmons died from injuries he sustained in an off-duty motorcycle crash last week.
The flag outside Georgia Southern Police Headquarters flew at half-staff, and flowers and a blue line ribbon showed the sadness for Clemmons’ death.
The local young man who wanted to be a police officer started his career at the university last summer. Clemmons graduated from Southeast Bulloch High School before putting himself through Ogeechee Tech’s Law Enforcement Academy. His death touches his small close-knit department, and plenty of people off campus as well.
“Tristan is one of those officers that goes into law enforcement for all the right reasons. His purpose in life was to serve others,” said Chief Laura McCullough, University Police.
People in Statesboro stood solemnly along the street as the motorcade returned him home. Fellow officers lined the streets, and firefighters stood at attention to remember the young man who protected not only the campus, but also his own hometown.
“First and foremost, they put their lives on the line for us everyday. I think it’s important we show that respect to someone who puts the badge on everyday,” said Statesboro resident, Jeff Mitchell.
The line of cars included deputies, troopers, and police from local agencies. Chief McCullough says the loss feels stronger in a small department where the whole team knows each other - especially the rookies.
“We were his only police job, so it’s especially hard for me because I watched him grow into the officer that he is,” she said.
Whether he died in the line of duty or not, his community and fellow officers won’t let him be forgotten.
Monday’s procession traveled along Interstate 16 west to Georgia Highway 67, and then on to Fair Road, South Main Street, and U.S. Highway 80 to Joiner Anderson Funeral Home in Statesboro.
Officer Clemmons’ visitation will be held Wednesday from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m at Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home in Statesboro. The funeral will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at Connection Church.
If you’d like to light a candle in Officer Clemmons’ memory, click here.