Former Bibb Sheriff Jerry Modena dies at 73

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Former Bibb County Sheriff Jerry Modena died of natural causes in his home Wednesday night.

Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones says he was surrounded by family around 10 p.m. as he passed.

“He was firm, but fair,” said Jones. He has known the former sheriff since the early 1970s and remembers a time when Modena improved the efficiency of the sheriff’s office by deputizing EMTs.

“He did it so other deputies didn’t have to be there, which allowed them to be helping the community in other places,” Jones said.

The procedure was when a inmate was taken to the hospital, a deputy had to be present. The EMTs filled that void.

Bibb County Sheriff David Davis remembers Modena as a committed law enforcement officer, and a mentor to him. Davis says Modena helped him climb the ranks and understand the importance of transparency in the community. 

“A lot of his commitment to the community and the way he dealt with the community, I sort of model myself after a lot of those things — to be always out there in the community, to be accessible, and to be there for the people that you serve,” Davis said. 

Jones also remembered a time when Modena calmed a man down after he threatened to harm the first deputy that stepped on his property. Jones said before deputies got to the scene, the man was shooting at his own house.

His neighbors let the sheriff’s office know, but the man threatened to kill the first deputy that came near his home.

Modena called him and talked him down.

The man put his rifle down, according to the coroner.

Retired Sheriff Modena’s family is receiving visitors Sunday at Mabel White Baptist Church between 3-6 p.m. The funeral is scheduled for Monday at 11 a.m. also at the church located at 1415 Bass Road in Macon. 

A burial will follow the funeral at Macon Memorial Park Cemetery at 3969 Mercer University Drive. 

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