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Macon Community News

The Macon Newsroom

Macon Community News

The Macon Newsroom

Macon-Bibb honors shooting victim’s widow, approves jail security funds

Sylvia Rose Brown’s advocacy after her husband was gunned down outside their home led to a new victims’ assistance program
Sylvia Rose Brown is Georgia’s Crime Victims Compensation Survivors Award recipient for inspiring the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office’s Survivor Care Project for real-time assistance for those affected by violence.

Less than two months after Matt Brown was fatally shot on Lokchapee Landing in late November, his widow appealed for help to Macon-Bibb County’s mayor and commissioners. 

“The night of my husband’s murder, I sat on a curb in shock as firefighters washed away his blood,” Sylvia Rose Brown said during public comments at the Jan. 16 county commission meeting. “No one was there to support me during this crisis. We need people to show compassion and empathy. Why wasn’t a chaplain there, or a grief counselor there? I had to pray and console his parents when I was in no capacity to do so myself. It was as if I was victimized twice.” 

She inspired the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office to create the new Survivor Care Project announced two weeks after her remarks. 

Recently, the Crime Victims Compensation program of Georgia’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council presented Brown with its Survivors Award. The Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office nominated Brown for her advocacy in ensuring other victims won’t have to suffer alone. 

DA Anita Howard remembers Brown’s passionate plea.

“It was sincere, a sincere cry for help, and also a willingness to help herself. And that’s what life is all about. It’s understanding the pain, feeling the pain, and then taking that to help someone else,” Howard said at Tuesday’s meeting. “She is the epitome of what it means to be a member of our beloved community and I’m so thankful for her.”

When Brown accepted the award and bouquets of flowers Tuesday, she quoted from Isaiah.

“‘Learn to do right, seek justice, defend the oppressed, take up the cause of the fatherless and plead the case for the widow,’” Brown read. “This verse has guided me as I’ve navigated through my own journey of grief and advocacy, reminding me of the role we each have in seeking justice and supporting those in their most vulnerable moments.”

The sheriff’s office and the Southern Center for Choice Theory now provide support and comfort at the scene of traumatic events during the initial law enforcement response. 

Allocating jail funds and SPLOST dollars

Bibb County Sheriff David Davis also appealed to the Commission for permission to use $2 million from the Commissary fund to purchase new magnetic locks for the old section of the jail and fix plumbing issues. 

Davis said the money comes from the sale of items to inmates and surcharges for telephone privileges. The new locking mechanism will help thwart inmates’ efforts to jimmy the locks, he said. 

Commissioners also dispersed $7.8 million for a variety of projects from the 2018 SPLOST which is nearing the $280,000,000 cap that is expected to be reached next summer. 

A new jail is proposed for a 2025 SPLOST referendum planned for next spring. 

The county also allocated more than a million dollars in SPLOST funds for public safety radios and IT expenses. 

All nine commissioners and Mayor Lester Miller also sponsored a measure to dedicate a portion of Plant Street in honor of Greater Bellevue Baptist Church’s longtime pastor, Charles Jones, who also served on Macon City Council.

Here is a compilation of actions taken and captured in social media posts during the meetings. 

Civic Journalism Senior Fellow Liz Fabian covers Macon-Bibb County government entities and can be reached at [email protected] or 478-301-2976.

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