Valdosta Daily Times

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February 20, 2014

Sheriff’s Office mourns Capt. Temples

VALDOSTA — The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of one of its own this week with the passing Sunday of Capt. Sam Temples.

Temples was a 36-year veteran of the sheriff’s department and worked with several departments throughout his career.

“Sam had been a part of law enforcement his entire adult life and has done just about everything there is to do at the sheriff’s office,” said Sheriff Chris Prine. “I’m certainly going to miss him.”

Most recently, Temples served as captain of Special Operations and supervised training, the D.A.R.E. Program, school resource officers and the narcotics division. Temples also headed the department’s dive team.

“It’s all been such a sudden shock, and we’re still numb,” said Sheriff’s Capt. Wanda Edwards.

“He was very instrumental in the James Eunice case. He was there every day, all day,” said Edwards. “There was no one there more than Sam and the sheriff.”

Temples was a loyal team player who was “devoted” to his department, said Edwards, and he “looked after the men and women who were under his command and defended them to the bitter end,” said Prine.

Temples also preferred to do his job behind the scenes, Edwards said.

“He was kind of a laid-back captain. He got the job done when it needed to be done, but he never wanted to be upfront and take credit for it,” said Prine.

Despite staying in the background, Temples had a reputation for being direct and vocal and “wouldn’t beat around the bush about giving his opinion about a situation,” said Prine.

“And he would be pretty mad if he knew there was going to be an article about him,” said Chief Deputy Joe Crow. “He didn’t like pomp and circumstance.”

Temples loved to fish and had been spending his time off working on land he recently acquired near the Suwannee River, said Prine, who believes Temples’ plan was to retire to the coast and spend his time fishing.

More than anything, Temples enjoyed spending time with his wife, Susan, and his daughter, Kellie, said Prine.

“He loved his daughter. He lived and breathed Kellie,” said Prine.

Temples requested that no formal funeral services be held following his death, but his family will receive friends from 5-8:30 p.m. today at Music Funeral Home.

Plans to name the department’s training building after Temples are in the early stages, and Prine believes it would be a fitting memorial given that the building housed many of the divisions under Temple’s leadership.

“He was just a good man. He was down to earth,” said Edwards. “He just had your back.”

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