Duluth honors police chief for 30 years of service

DULUTH - On Monday, Sept. 11, a day in which the bravery of law enforcement officers again jumped foremost into the mind of the public, Duluth honored one of its own.

Although Randy Belcher performed no feats of courage at the World Trade Center site, there have no doubt been many, unnoticed and unspoken of, in his long and distinguished career.

At the City Council meeting, Mayor Shirley Lasseter spoke fondly of the longtime police chief.

"We've just had our first employee to survive 30 years with us," she said. "We learned this in July."

As a result, the City Council approved a new employee recognition schedule for its personnel manual under which Simpson will receive a $300 gift card and likely a reception honoring his dedication.

Belcher's name became a household word last year when he handled the local searches for runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks.

Duluth was again in the news with the capture of Brian Nichols, who was alleged to have killed a Fulton County judge, a court clerk in downtown Atlanta and a federal agent at home off Lenox Road.

Nichols was allegedly holding a young woman, Ashley Smith, hostage in her Duluth apartment. Smith talked Nichols into turning himself in and called police.