Last Call

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Jan 13, 2006

Last call for 828 - Police officer Surles laid to rest
By David Atchison

PELL CITY – A Pell City police officer was laid to rest Monday.
“It’s one of the most unbelievable experiences I hope I never have to go thorough again,” Mayor Adam Stocks said. “It was extremely emotional.”

The funeral service for Kenneth “Greg” Surles, 29, of Cropwell was held Monday at New Hope Baptist Church.

The service was followed by a police escort procession to St. Clair Memorial Gardens, where the officer was buried.

About 200 emergency vehicles led a 300-vehicle procession to the cemetery on U.S. 231, just north of Pell City.

People lined the streets of Pell City as the funeral procession passed. Some bystanders placed their hands over their hearts, while others saluted as the hearse carrying Surles’ body passed.

“We wanted to send Greg off with the highest honor, because he absolutely deserved it,” Stocks said after the funeral.

Surles’ funeral brought law enforcement officers from across the state to Pell City, including the top law enforcement official of the state, Attorney General Troy King.

“The show of support and love for Greg Surles from his fellow officers was unbelievable,” Stocks said.

He said the most emotional part of the funeral was when the last call for 828, Officer Surles, came across the emergency police radio. It was followed by the announcement that Surles was killed on duty, with the final 10-42, “end of duty,” signoff call.

“To me, and for most of the people out there, that was the emotional part,” he said. “There was not a dry eye out there when the call for 828 came over the radio three times.”

Surles died Friday morning, the Fourth of July, from injuries he suffered in a two-vehicle accident almost three weeks ago.

While on patrol, Surles’ police vehicle was struck by a tractor-trailer on U.S. 231 South, at the intersection of Kings Circle/Cropwell Drive. The accident happened Wednesday, June 18.

Surles was transported to University Hospital in Birmingham by Lifesaver helicopter. He underwent numerous surgeries during a two-week period before succumbing to his injuries.

While Surles was in the hospital, the community rallied around him and his family, setting up special bank accounts and holding fundraisers to help the family.

Flags were flown at half-staff throughout the city after Surles’ death.

Surles, a 1997 graduate of St. Clair County High School in Odenville, began his career in law enforcement with the Talladega County Sheriff’s Department. During his law enforcement career, Surles also worked for Riverside and Odenville police departments. He was a patrol officer with the Pell City Police Department at the time of his death.

Surles leaves behind a wife and two daughters, one 4-years-old and the other about 3-months-old.

The Alabama State Troopers Post in Birmingham, the agency investigating the accident, has not released any information about the cause of the accident.
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