King excels, becomes youngest police officer hired by chief


King excels, becomes youngest police officer hired by chief
D.J. King, middle, was named the city’s “Strongest Link” award recipient for January at Tuesday night’s meeting of the city’s Board of Commissioners. Pictured with King are Griffin Police Chief Mike Yates, left, and GSCS Work Based Learning Coordinator Dr. Lea Folds, right.


Because of D’Marquivius “D.J.” King’s maturity “beyond his years” and his leadership qualities, he went from an 18-year-old intern to the first 18-year-old Griffin Police Chief Mike Yates has ever hired to become a certified police officer.

King was recognized at the city’s Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday night as the city’s “Strongest Link” award recipient for January.

“He is an amazing young man and sets the bar high for himself in the service of others. He is an example for all of us to follow, enthusiastic, positive, ready to work and happy to be part of the team. We can all learn something from him (He will probably be sitting in my seat one day),” Yates wrote of King in his submitted nomination.

King came to the GPD over a year ago as a leader in Griffin High School’s ROTC program and as an intern through the Griffin-Spalding County School System’s Work Based Learning program. His maturity and self motivation make King the kind of student every teacher dreams of having, GSCS Work Based Learning Coordinator Lea Folds told the board.

“D.J. performed admirably in his role as an intern, learning the records division operations, never late, always polite, and showing a maturity beyond his years,” Yates wrote.

After graduating from high school, King applied to become a GPD police officer. Given King’s maturity, work ethic, outgoing personality and commitment, Yates said he decided to give him a try.

Yates hired King and sent him to the police academy, where Yates said he would “sink or swim on his own merits.” King excelled at the police academy and graduated as a certified officer in 2017.

King was then placed into the rigorous Field Training Officer program, which lasts a minimum of 12 weeks and has about a 20 percent failure rate, Yates explained.

“Again, not surprising to those of us who have gotten to know D.J., he excelled,” Yates said.

Even though King’s training officers said King was ready, Yates said it was with an abundance of caution that he required King to “grudgingly complete extra weeks of FTO training, simply because of his youth.”

Again, King excelled, even surpassing others in the program, Yates told commissioners.

“I like to do myself proud,” King said as he thanked the city and Yates for hiring him and for the recognition. “I am going to keep up the good work.”

King was released from field training a few weeks ago and Yates said he continues to set an example for even the experienced officers.

“He’s done a great job. I could use a dozen or so just like him,” Yates added. “If anybody deserves the ‘Strongest Link’ award, he does.”

The Strongest Link award is given monthly to a city employee who has demonstrated excellent performance and productivity, loyalty, professional pride and other noteworthy accomplishments. Recipients of the award receive one day off with pay, a gift certificate from a local restaurant, a plaque and the symbolic chain, which the recipient will be the custodian of until the next employee is recognized.