GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - It’s a letter from inmates at the Gwinnett County Detention Center to Sheriff Butch Conway. But it’s not a complaint letter, it’s a compliment letter, offering condolences for a recently fallen office and much more.
Inmate Leroy Dollar read the letter to FOX 5 reporter George Franco from inside the Gwinnett County Detention Center.
“I wish to extend condolences to officer Toney’s family and the Gwinnett County Sheriff Office’s brotherhood as a whole,” said Dollar as he held the letter in his hand.
Dollar spent some of his time handwriting this letter to Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway.
It speaks of the loss of Gwinnett County Police Officer Antwan Toney, ambushed and killed in the line of duty.
“I think it comes down to trying to express the fact that we’re human and we have compassion,” said Dollar.
The men, sitting with Dollar who signed the letter, told FOX 5 News they find compassion and strength together at Bible study at the jail.
“To me, the letter was about character and integrity for us in the system,” said Tarazzo Anderson.
The sheriff’s office said the letter was meant to be private but the men consented to share it publically after lots of positive reinforcement.
“It’s like I told them, your letter expresses a tremendous amount of empathy and that’s something our society lacks empathy,” said Deputy Shannon Volkodav, the Public Information Officer for the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office.
The letter offers gratitude, respect, and honor for police, military, and first responders.
“And though law enforcement and criminals may be considered opposites, the intrinsic value of a human life transcends those boundaries by far, right is right and wrong is wrong,” Dollar said as he read the letter.
The letter involves a group of men whose admitted shortcomings has led them here. They said it helped them reach beyond their confines.
“It gave me an opportunity to express what I felt inside something that was positive. And why is that important from a place like this? Well if you can do it from here you can do it from anywhere,” said Dollar.
The group of men told FOX 5 News they were happy to hear the family of fallen Officer Toney had read and wholeheartedly approved of the letter.