“Never Give Up Your Gun!” This advice to police officers is now universally known. In 1964, policing, particularly in rural Georgia, was more a matter of personality than training. But when three officers were killed on a lonely road one night, police everywhere woke up to the possibility that respect for the badge may no longer be enough to save their lives.
The Gwinnett County, Georgia, Police Department was formed by tough, honorable men who were brought in to clean up the county after the sheriff made moonshining his personal business. But with a low budget—officers had to buy their own uniforms, guns, even bullets—the police had to take anyone with a pulse who could stand upright. Even with the odds against them, the police department grew into a force feared by the criminals and respected by county citizens.
Late one night in spring of 1964, the police in Gwinnett County—and everywhere—learned just how far that respect would go in saving their lives in a tight spot. Officers Jesse Gravitt, Ralph Davis, and Jerry Everett responded to a report of suspicious activity on a desolate country road named Arc. What they found was a kind of criminal they were completely unprepared for, a psychopath who would do anything to avoid the consequences of his actions, including the cold-blooded killing of three county police officers.
This began one of the most intense murder investigations that Georgia had ever seen. Arc Road is the story of those officers, that investigation, and the fallout from those horrific murders that changed the way law enforcement officers are trained.
Praise for Arc Road
Tony Tiffin takes the readers through a perilous journey. It is not for the faint of heart, yet the author gives a perspective of this brutal crime in a fascinating, intriguing, sad and moving story. As a veteran Law Enforcement officer, this book reminds me of the minefield of terror all sworn officers face each day. Arc Road tragically gives us a heads-up to train and protect our officers. Excellent read.
—Don Redden, ret. FBI
Tony Tiffin’s Arc Road is a harrowing examination of the cold-blooded killings of three Georgia police officers in 1964. It is told in the distinctive voice of a life-long resident of Gwinnett County where the murders were committed. Combining his intimate knowledge of both the area and its residents, Tony Tiffin’s writing powerfully conveys the shattering human cost of these killings and their seismic effects on both the survivors and the community at large. Thoroughly researched and compellingly written, Arc Road will leave you shocked, moved, and serve as a stark reminder that evil can be found anywhere…even on a lonely country road called Arc.
—David Dean, Retired Chief of Police, Avalon NJ
Arc Road is both a snapshot in time and a cautionary tale. The events chronicled in the book were almost unthinkable in the time and place where they originally occurred. Today, however, we have too many examples of law enforcement officers being ambushed and murdered. This book conveys a palpable loss of innocence…the first steps on the frightening road from Mayberry to mayhem. Author Tony Tiffin deftly presents the sudden, yet subtle, shift as captured by the investigative and legal processes that followed this shocking crime. He defines how the rules for officers changed abruptly on that lonely Georgia Road and he conveys, poignantly, the worst fears of every law enforcement family ever. This is a must-read for anyone who cares about law and order, is fascinated by the investigative process, or is generally intrigued by history or personal defense topics.
—Tara Dixon Engel, VP of Training & Strategic Development, American Police Hall of Fame, author of Naked in DaNang and The Handgun Guide for Women
Arc Road is an emotional roller coaster that spotlights law enforcement’s moments of casual boredom that suddenly explode into split-second decision-making, underscoring why officer survival should never be taken for granted, even for a second. The emotions and responses covered by the author are as much a part of police work today as they were in 1964. Arc Road offers a gut-wrenching in-depth look at real-world police work and, more subtly, the pain and suffering that wracks the brotherhood (and it was still very much a brotherhood in 1964) when they lose some of their own. From the painful act of informing a family member that their hero won’t be coming home, to the investigative autopsies, funerals and efforts to bring the criminals to justice, Tony Tiffin transcends the passage of years and paints a realistic picture that should be mandatory reading for anyone who wears a badge.
—Paul Pawela, Director of Law Enforcement Training, National Association of Chiefs of Police
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