He served in the U.S. Army and was in the training division of the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office when his then boss and now Sheriff Tim Burkhalter took him aside and gave him a great piece of advice: Get more education.
And it was around that time, Hancock told the Rome Rotary Club during their weekly luncheon Thursday that he learned of the Rome-Floyd Law Enforcement Foundation and a scholarship given out each year by Rome Rotarians to help public servants like Hancock go back to school.
“There’s lots of things I couldn’t have accomplished without this community, especially the Rotary Club,” said Hancock, who is now director of the Floyd County Emergency Management Agency.
Since Hancock became the first recipient of the $1,500 scholarship he’s earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Georgia Highlands College, a bachelor’s degree in management and a master’s degree from Shorter University. It took him six years of working three jobs — two part-time — and going to classes before he was finished.
But he ties all of his milestones — including being able to get voters to approve the $26 million communication system being installed this year — back to the moment he decided to go back to school with the help of Rotarians.
“When I got the scholarship, my wife framed an article from the Rome News-Tribune about it and hung it above my dresser,” he said. “I look at it every day. ... It’s helped me out a lot.”
Before Hancock stepped down from the podium he took a minute to update the members of the club about the ongoing upgrade to Floyd County’s radio communication system.
So far, Hancock said, five towers have been installed on hilltops around the county, and work on the remaining five towers will likely be completed soon.
He said an agreement about property usage with Oglethorpe Power has been reached, and licenses from the Federal Communications Commission are pending.
As for the part of the package that would allow for other counties to access the local communications system, the developments in that arena have been slower, Hancock said.
Cellular service providers have also expressed interest in leasing space to place their antennas on the county-owned towers.
“There’s plenty of space on the towers,” Hancock said, “and any revenue generated will be used to offset the cost of maintaining the radio system.”
Public Works Department crews for the city and county will be the first to have access to the new radio system starting in the fall.
The system is expected to be fully operational by Jan. 1, 2013.
Hancock also said the Emergency Operations Center under construction on East 12th Street will likely go online in mid-July.