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Visitation services for Barrow sergeant held today

WINDER -- Visitation services will be held today for Sgt. John Petty of the Barrow County Sheriff's Office.

Petty, 48, died of natural causes while off-duty on Saturday, sheriff's office spokesman Lt. Matt Guthas said. Though he joined the Barrow County department only in July 2010, officials called him a "key member" of the office's criminal investigations unit.

"(Petty) supervised the crime scene investigations unit and was responsible for the security and processing of evidence in all criminal cases," Guthas said in a news release.

Petty had more than 24 years of experience in law enforcement and held five instructor certifications, showing "his dedication and willingness to teach police officers beginning their careers," Guthas said.

"John was a premier example to his fellow employees and will be missed," Guthas said.

Visitation will be held at Smith Funeral Home, 755 Atlanta Highway in Winder, from 6 to 9 p.m. today. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Alcovy Animal Rescue, P.O. Box 1425, Winder, GA 30680.