Brian Hargrove is known in the law enforcement community for many years as a crime scene specialist with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
During his career, he has helped solve complex murder cases in 11 counties in central Georgia. He has also testified many times in courtrooms across the eight-district Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit and other jurisdictions as well.
And in each case, his hard work and attention to detail has been in seeking justice and helping to get the person or persons responsible for certain crimes off the streets and see them behind bars after they have been convicted.
Hargrove, 42, was recently promoted to Assistant Agent for the GBI Region 6 Office in Milledgeville.
Hargrove began his law enforcement career in September 1999, starting as a jailer with the Baldwin County’s Sheriff’s Office in Milledgeville.
He was hired by longtime Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee.
“I worked in prison for three months,” Hargrove said in a recent interview with The Union-Recorder. “And then I went to the Police Academy in January. The sheriff then put me on the street patrol as deputy. “
Hargrove served as a deputy for less than two years before being promoted to detective with the local sheriff’s office.
“I’ve worked with some really good people,” recalled Hargrove, noting that she was the former Detective Lt. Bobby Langford and Jimmy Josey, head of detectives for several years, included. “I learned a lot from these two men.”
Hargrove later worked on general investigative cases as well as specific child crime-related cases. He then began investigating drugs with Brad King, who was recently promoted to major in overseeing all criminal investigations in the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office.
Hargrove and King remain good friends today.
“I really learned so much from Brad King, Todd Crosby, Bobby Langford, Jimmy Josey and Bill Massee,” said Hargrove. “I learned from him.”
Hargrove worked as a detective in the sheriff’s office from 2002 to 2007.
While working in the Baldwin County Sheriff’s office in criminal investigation, Hargrove graduated with a degree in criminal justice in 2006 after attending courses at Georgia Military College and Georgia College.
Shortly after Hargrove graduated, he was recruited by Joe Wooten, who at the time was a special agent with the GBI Region 6 Office.
“He was on the Drug Task Force at the time,” Hargrove said of Wooten. “So I applied to the GBI and was hired as a special agent.”
Hargrove immediately went to agent school.
The first assignment Hargrove had at GBI was to work with the Macon Regional Drug Enforcement Office.
“I worked on dope cases right here in Milledgeville and Baldwin Counties from 2007 to 2010,” Hargrove said. “And then I switched to the field in 2010 and worked under Special Agent Tom Davis, another guy I learned a lot from.”
Hargrove investigated criminal matters before deciding he wanted to specialize in crime solving.
Hargrove and Todd Crosby, longtime crime scene specialist with the GBI and former road patrol sergeant at the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office under Massee, got to know each other better, although the two men had known each other for years.
“I had a lot of respect for Todd,” said Hargrove.
As a GBI agent, Hargrove said he handled many cases with Crosby.
“I probably learned more from Todd than anyone – the reason is because I came here and worked in field research for about two years,” said Hargrove.
In 2011 the GBI added a second position as a crime scene specialist in the Milledgeville office.
Immediately, Hargrove said he thought he wanted to show interest in the position.
“I actually walked down the hall and into Tom (Davis) office and asked him if I could, and of course he told me he would take it for advice,” Hargrove said. “A few days later he called me back to his office and said, ‘If you want it, you have it, we’ll make it happen.'”
Hargrove began working as a crime scene specialist in October 2011.
“I was very interested in investigating crime scenes,” said Hargrove.
He added that he was also intrigued by how much Crosby was respected by his colleagues.
“Right away I saw an opportunity and immediately knew I could do one of two things,” said Hargrove. “You can either wait for an opportunity and take it when it comes, or wait for it to pass you.”
Looking back at his decision, it couldn’t have been more gratifying.
“I knew the decision was a breeze,” said Hargrove, noting that he also knew he was going to get the best of knowledge from anyone he’d ever known in a crime scene investigation.
In the fall of 2012, Hargrove attended the National Forensics Academy at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
For the next five years, Hargrove and Crosby worked full-time as crime scene specialists in the 11 counties covered by the GBI Region 6 office in Milledgeville.
“I had a unique opportunity to be an apprentice for five years and to be mentored by Todd,” said Hargrove with a big smile. “I was very fortunate to have been tutored by Todd, who is a wonderful man of God. He was my mentor and we are still close friends. “
Hargrove said Crosby had been telling him all along that they were doing the Lord’s work.
“Todd used to preach this to me,” Hargrove said. “He said, ‘You are doing the Lord’s work.'”
Today, Crosby is the Special Agent responsible for the GBI Perry office. However, he and his family still reside in Baldwin County.
Hargrove is married to Lisa, who works as a primary school teacher. The couple have two children, one son, Ethan Yopp; and a daughter, Katie.
Hargrove was named a Senior Crime Scene Specialist after Crosby was promoted to a supervisory position in the Perry office in 2016.
For a year and a half, Hargrove worked on a crime scene investigation in GBI Region 6 with 11 counties.
He was later joined by crime scene specialist Shannon Resha.
Hargrove said one of the most valuable lessons he learned from enrolling at the National Forensics Academy was “leaving no stone unturned.”
Leaving a stone intact at a crime scene can easily lead to something missing. something that could make a difference whether the case was resolved or not.
“We arrest people and go to court where the defendant or defendants are prosecuted,” said Hargrove. “It’s a big part of what we do, but our main job is to gather facts. We are fact finders. If the facts show that a person is innocent, then they are innocent. And if the facts show they are guilty, they will be arrested and tried. We just follow the evidence in either case. “
He said the word “thorough” is often used by the state law enforcement agency because that word covers a lot about how each case is investigated by the GBI.
Hargrove was promoted to his current position with the GBI on November 16.
“I’ve loved working on crime scenes, but this is a calling of the good Lord and we do the Lord’s work and where the Lord leads us, wherever we go,” said Hargrove as he pondered his new position. “If he had wished me a crime scene specialist for the next five years, that would have been fine too.”
Now that he’s been involved in his new role for a few weeks, Hargrove has learned firsthand that it’s no less stress and work.
It’s just as much stress and work, and often more, he admits.
Hargrove claims he’s not the smartest person in the world, but one thing he does believe is that he did well during his career as a law enforcement officer.
“I’ve always surrounded myself with people who knew what they were doing.”