Former DeKalb police chief, who led during the child murders, dies


A funeral service is set Tuesday for Francis “Dick” Hand Jr., who served as DeKalb County’s police chief and public safety director for two decades.

Hand, 81, who had moved to Albany, died after a brief illness on Nov. 14, according to an obituary released Monday by the police department on Facebook

Hand, a Rome native, worked for the DeKalb police department while attending Emory Law School and was an assistant U.S. Attorney before becoming chief of police in 1969. He became county public safety director in 1981.

He served DeKalb in a time when the county was still largely rural but was coming to terms with realities of big city life. One of the defining cases of his career was the Atlanta Child Murders, when about 29 African-American children, teens, and young adults — mostly males — were kidnapped and murdered around the city. 

Wayne Williams, convicted in 1982 of killing two adults, has long been linked to the child murders.

After retiring from Dekalb in 1989, Hand moved to Albany to serve as the Chief Assistant District Attorney for Dougherty County. 

Services will be held at noon Tuesday at Holy Trinity Episcopal Parish, 515 East Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur, GA 30030 followed by a graveside ceremony in Decatur Cemetery.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, well-wishers consider a donation to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial fund or to the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation.

Like DeKalb County News Now on Facebook | Follow on Twitter and Instagram


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Psychiatric group okays public talk of Donald Trump’s mental state
Psychiatric group okays public talk of Donald Trump’s mental state

A national organization of psychiatrists has sent a note out to members, telling them that they don’t have to observe a 44-year-old rule forbidding comments on the mental state of politicians and other public figures – including the president. From Scientific American: The rule against discussion of the mental condition...
Trump: Transgender people won't be allowed in the military
Trump: Transgender people won't be allowed in the military

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said transgender people will be barred from serving “in any capacity” in the U.S. military, writing on Twitter that such service would cause “disruption” and burden the U.S. with “tremendous medical costs.” Current Department of Defense policy allows for transgender people...
Man opens fire after dispute over canceled Lyft ride
Man opens fire after dispute over canceled Lyft ride

A Lyft driver said she “was scared to death” when a man retrieved his gun and opened fire after a dispute over a canceled ride.  According to a Henry County police report obtained by Channel 2 Action News, the man said he felt threatened and fired one round into the ground to get the driver to leave his property. The man was not...
Take a look at new concepts for Buckhead park over Ga. 400
Take a look at new concepts for Buckhead park over Ga. 400

The Buckhead business district behind an ambitious plan to build a park over a portion of Ga. 400 voted Wednesday to fund the next phase of study and to set up a nonprofit organization to manage future development of the $250 million project. The 9-acre “deck park,” one of two proposed in Atlanta, would create green space and a central...
More heat, humidity and showers in the forecast
More heat, humidity and showers in the forecast

Today: Scattered storms. High: 91 Tonight: More rain possible. Low: 73 Tomorrow: Scattered storms. High: 91 Stay hydrated, metro Atlanta. “Keep drinking water throughout that day, especially if you work outside,” Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Karen Minton said early Wednesday. <div></div><br><blockquote class="...
More Stories