Officer Blauth says he isn’t quite sure why he won this year.
“I think I got a lot of votes because my mother’s computer is back up and running,” he jokes on the phone during a quiet moment on patrol.
After several years in forensics, this Savannah/Chatham Metro PD veteran has been back on beat patrol for the last couple of years. While Central and Island Precincts—the latter of which includes the dangerous Eastside—get the most press, Officer Blauth works in the West Chatham Precinct, mostly in the Georgetown area.
“It’s not a bad area to work in,” he says. “The construction on 204 is killing me, though.”
Blauth says while Georgetown is rapidly changing and getting away from its once-exclusive reputation, “I certainly wouldn’t say there’s been a rampant increase in crime.”
He says new Police Chief Joseph “Jack” Lumpkin has helped foster “a more positive attitude all around. I think he’s moving the department in the right direction.”
As concerns continue to be raised that too many officers are getting their training in Savannah and then leaving as soon as possible for jobs in less-dangerous areas, Blauth explains why he remains here despite his impressive resume:
“I’m originally from Jacksonville, Florida, but I moved here when I was nine, so I guess by proxy you could say I’m from Savannah,” he says. “I like giving back to the community I grew up in. I like helping people. That’s why I took the job in the first place.”
During a time when police are not only under increased scrutiny because of brutality and in some cases even murder, Officer Blauth says he would still encourage young people to seek a career as a police officer.
“I enjoy it. I could recommend it as a career, and I often do. The job’s not for everybody, but then again I don’t think I could be a writer like you,” he muses. —Jim Morekis
Runner-up: Gary Murphy