Colquitt, GA – Colquitt Police Department (CPD) Chief Kenneth “Kenny” Kirkland died in the line of duty on Aug. 25 after suffering a heart attack while driving down the highway.
The 51-year-old police chief had been cleaning out the agency’s storage shed earlier in the day, to include loading several pieces of equipment weighing over 100 pounds into the department’s pickup truck, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Chief Kirkland was traveling down Georgia Highway 45 on his way to the county landfill when the medical emergency struck.
His vehicle traveled off the roadway and through an area of trees and bushes, blocking it from the view of passing motorists, police said.
When Chief Kirkland failed to show up at a local church where he was scheduled to speak on Wednesday, he was reported as missing, the Associated Press reported.
Investigators tracked his cell phone to the location of the crash in Miller County and found Chief Kirkland’s body inside the pickup truck.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the untimely passing of our Chief of Police – Kenny Kirkland,” the City of Colquitt said in a Facebook post the following day.
Chief Kirkland devoted 30 years to his law enforcement career, and spent nearly two decades at the CPD.
“Chief Kirkland devotedly served our department as a Patrol Officer, Investigator, Training Officer, Arson Investigator, Interim Chief of Police, and as Chief of Police Since May 2020,” the city’s post read. “The City of Colquitt is appreciative of the years of public service that was given by Chief Kirkland to the residents of Colquitt. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Chief Kirkland leaves behind his wife of 20 years, Teresa, as well as his children and grandchildren, according to his obituary.
He is also survived by his brother and a number of extended family members.
Chief Kirkland was laid to rest on Monday.
The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office mourns with the Colquitt County Police Department as they grieve the loss of Police Chief Kenny Kirkland. #restinhonorhttps://t.co/Ghnr5X4QPs pic.twitter.com/zIvdR4a2Gn
— Fulton County Sheriff's Office (@FultonSheriff) August 28, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Colquitt Police Department Chief Kenneth “Kenny” Kirkland, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.