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Academy for Advanced Studies Student Honored for Redesigning Official Seal of Henry County Police Department

HENRY COUNTY, GA – Henry County Police Department (HCPD) has a new look to share with the community and beyond thanks to the work of Lailah Metallo, a junior at the Academy for Advanced Studies (AAS), who redesigned the department’s official seal.

Deputy Chief of Police Maj. Jason Bolton, HCPD officers, Metallo’s family, and Henry County Schools (HCS) administrators attended a Dec.7 event at the police department’s McDonough headquarters to recognize the student’s efforts.

Earlier this year, HCPD, who partners with HCS to provide the district’s School Resource Officers, made a strategic decision to improve the quality of its badges. That planned upgrade presented an ideal opportunity to bring a fresh look into the department's emblematic seal that had represented the HCPD’s identity, values, and authority for the past 11 years, said Maj. Bolton.

Upon learning about this project, AAS School Resource Officer Lt. Damion Hampson reached out to AAS graphic design instructor Mark McBride for his feedback.

“When Lt. Hampson told me what they were trying to do, I knew immediately who would be perfect for the job,” McBride stated.

Metallo, a standout participant in the Work-Based Learning (WBL) program at AAS, emerged as the ideal candidate and was more than ready to apply her skills to the project.

“I remember sitting in my classroom working on an assignment, and police officers came in to speak with Mr. McBride,” Metallo said. “I overheard some details and started getting ideas, and even before Mr. McBride asked, I already had some sketches. I had a complete design the next day, and when the police department returned sometime later, I had more than 22 samples.”

While HCPD was in awe of Metallo’s initiative and drive, the department was even more impressed with the quality of her work and efforts to make each sample unique and meaningful. Confident in the choice to partner with AAS, HCPD officially commissioned the student to design the new seal.

Metallo wholeheartedly embraced the challenge and produced the final design after researching previous seals, studying the department's history, values, and mission, and incorporating feedback from HCPD personnel.

“We were all impressed, not only with Lailah's amazing artistic talent but also with her professionalism,” said Maj. Bolton. “Our team knew right away they had chosen the right person. We have this final product that we are extremely pleased with, and we are so excited about it that we wanted to recognize Lailah for her outstanding work.”

HCPD presented Metallo with a framed replica of the new seal signed by Chief Mike Ireland and Maj. Bolton and asked her to autograph an additional framed copy to be displayed in the department.

“The logo is very important to us at the police department. This is how other departments and the public recognize us,” Maj. Bolton said at the event. “It is a representation of our police department, so it’s very important to have a good-looking logo. This will be displayed in our lobby so everyone will see it, because we are extremely proud of it and want you to get credit from the public. We hope you are as proud of your work as we are and know that for years and years to come this will be our emblem. This is how people will identify the police department.”

The logo plays a significant role in law enforcement, and beyond adorning new badges, it will feature prominently in various uses including on police vehicles, uniforms, promotional materials, and official documents. HCPD personnel also hope the new logo is symbolic of the department’s commitment to its community and particularly its young people.

“When students see how we are working together and how we can help each other, I think that builds bridges between youth and officers,” Maj. Casey McGlamery said.

“Henry County takes pride in our school system's outstanding young leadership and talent,” said Henry County Manager Cheri Matthews. “We are excited to see our youth working with the Henry County Police Department to implement an update to the department's logo. Community involvement represents the county’s pillars of excellence, and we are grateful to our partners for fostering this relationship.”

AAS is Henry County Schools’ college and career academy that provides high school students with hands-on learning experiences to develop professional expertise and skills. The Work-Based Learning program at AAS emphasizes the practical application of academic knowledge in professional settings.

“Through WBL, we try to create opportunities that align work experience with our student’s pathway,” said WBL coordinator Dr. George Johnson. “And this worked great for Lailah. We try to give students access to organizations like the HCPD that have needs, and we match the students’ skill sets with those needs. In this case, it created a wonderful outcome that aligns with our graphic arts program. Their need fit perfectly with what Lailah does, and we were able to capitalize on this opportunity.”

This collaboration is consistent with the district’s Community-Inspired Strategic Plan objective to prepare every student group with college, career, and life-ready skills. Metallo’s accomplishment reflects the Henry County Board of Education’s emphasis on opportunities, access, and outcomes for all students and also underscores the importance of partnership and collaboration with external agencies and organizations like HCPD.

“Henry County Police Department is a vital partner with Henry County Schools in achieving our top priority each day, which is the safety and security of our students and staff,” said Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis. “This partnership resulting in this tremendous opportunity for Lailah is a testament to how HCPD goes above and beyond for our students and how AAS excels at preparing our students to be college- and career-ready.”

By providing opportunities for students like Metallo to apply their skills and knowledge in professional settings, HCS empowers them to become responsible, engaged citizens and leaders ready to make a difference in the world. Her achievement is yet another highlight for HCS in a year focused on “Winning for Kids” with more learning, more growing, and more celebrating.

“This is my first professional opportunity,” said Metallo. “It is life-changing having the police department give me this opportunity.”

 About Henry County Schools

Henry County Schools (HCS) is the eighth-largest school district in Georgia, consisting of 52 schools, including two academies, located about 20 minutes south of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Over the past 20 years, our community has grown in population from 113,000 residents to over 244,000 residents. Since 1999, student enrollment has grown from 21,000 to 43,000 students, and our number of employees has grown from 3,000 to 6,000.

HCS is “In Pursuit of Exceptional,” taking action to advance opportunities, access, and outcomes so that every student in our school district has Exceptional Support, Exceptional Access, and an Exceptional Future. In 2020, our Board of Education adopted our 2021-2026 Community-Inspired Strategic Plan and laid out a clear vision and mission for Henry County Schools. Our vision is to ensure a high-quality, world-class education for every student, and our mission is to empower all students with exceptional opportunities and access that lead to success in a global society.