The Forsyth County law enforcement community was in mourning Friday after news broke that a young deputy died suddenly and unexpectedly Thursday while attending a training academy in north Georgia.
In an emotional press conference held Friday, Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman announced that 29-year-old Forsyth County Sheriff's Office Deputy Spencer Englett suffered a traumatic medical event and collapsed during the first day of training at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Pickens County.
After Englett collapsed at the training facility, Freeman said the deputy was rushed to Piedmont Mountainside Medical Center in Jasper but was unable to be revived by medical staff and first responders.
"They were doing a physical training scenario when he fell ill,” Freeman said. “He collapsed. There were EMTs and a fire chief there immediately ... They rushed him to the hospital, and they unfortunately, tragically, could not revive him.”
Freeman said that from all accounts Englett was in perfect health prior to his collapse and had been excited in the weeks leading up to the training, working out hard to be ready for it.
"Deputy Englett had been working out, had been preparing for the academy,” Freeman said. “This was not his first physical exertion, so we don't know what happened. Sometimes there’s underlying factors that just go unknown.”
No definite cause of death has been determined, Freeman said. Officials are awaiting a report from the Georgia Medical Examiner’s Office. Freeman indicated that Englett’s collapse was induced by the physical exercise during the training.
Freeman called Englett, a south Georgia-native, one of the “biggest-hearted” young men he had ever hired who epitomized honor looked for in law enforcement officers and excelled as an “amateur/professional wrestler” prior to becoming a deputy.
“He was a stellar deputy who had done tremendous work here,” Freeman said. “He had been selected over many of his peers to attend the law enforcement academy, and that's a testament to his work and his work ethic and his work ability.”
Englett was hired by the sheriff’s office May 1, 2017, and had previously worked for the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office and had recently married, Freeman said.
He said that Englett will be posthumously awarded the rank of Deputy First Class, the rank he was working towards prior to his death.
"For a young man, early in his law enforcement career, he got it," Freeman said.
A law enforcement funeral was held for Englett at Winds of Peace Fellowship Church in Dawson County at 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning, with a burial to occur later in Baldwin County.
Englett is survived by his wife Ashley Englett, his mother Robin Sibley, and many other relatives and friends, according to an obituary from McDonald and Sons Funeral Home.
The family has asked for donations to be made to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office’s B.A.D.G.E. program in Englett’s name in lieu of flowers.
This is the sheriff’s office’s first line of duty death since the death of Deputy Mike Lord in January 2010.