Longtime law enforcement officer Steve Guthrie made a huge impression in the first-responder community prior to his death Wednesday.
A post by the Sheriff’s Office announced his death simply Wednesday, “Chief Deputy Steve Guthrie with the Sheriff’s Office has passed away late this afternoon after suffering from medical complications that occurred two weeks ago. Please keep Steve’s family in your prayers.”
Tributes poured in thanking Guthrie for his service, dedication and integrity.
“Steve was a valuable member of the law enforcement community for many years, whether protecting domestic violence victims or taking illegal drugs off our streets,” said Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall. “His contributions to the safety of this community and state will be greatly missed.”
Marshall – former Marshall County district attorney – worked alongside Guthrie for years.
Guthrie started his law enforcement career with the Scottsboro Police Department in late 1987. He served in the patrol division for three years. He worked for several agencies over the years and was a well-respected and distinguished narcotics investigator. In 2018, he joined the newly elected Sheriff of Marshall County, Phil Sims, as his Assistant Chief Deputy, and later his Chief Deputy. He also served as the State Trustee of the Marshall County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge.
Guthrie fell ill with stomach pains Oct. 22 and was admitted to Marshall Medical Center South. By Oct. 24, his health took a sharp decline, and he was transported from MMCS to Huntsville Hospital where he remained in the ICU in critical condition until his death. Tests last week discovered several areas of anoxic brain damage and his health continued to decline.
His wife, Tammy, and daughter, Taylor, have been by his side throughout.
Wednesday evening dozens of officers from various law enforcement agencies escorted Guthrie’s body as it was taken from Huntsville Hospital and delivered to Guntersville Memorial Chapel.
“As they were passing a church, the church bells started ringing so loud it was as if the church was showing Steve respect,” said Tonya Starr Etheridge, Guthrie’s sister-in-law.
“Steve’s body was rolled in front of us (the family) with a flag draped over him, and when they gave the flag to his wife, Tammy, she turned and gave the flag to Steve’s only daughter, Taylor. It was the most touching thing I have ever seen.”
Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims said he counts Guthrie as a brother, not only in law enforcement but also in life.
“Working with Steve has always been a pleasure,” Sims said. “It’s been a great experience to be able to work side by side with someone you trust as much as I trusted him.
“Steve had a servant’s heart. He would do things just to be able to help people … but he never wanted to be recognized and never needed a pat on the back. He was a doer. He just did what needed to be done. He loved his job and loved people.
“Whether it was working patrol, narcotics or crimes against children, he put 100% into it all the time.”
Fellow law enforcement officers shared their memories of Guthrie, including his love of Halloween, the FOP and his family.
“I am going to miss Steve Guthrie and our talks so much,” said Albertville Police dispatcher Wendy Ball. “He was my true friend and always there for me (and anyone else who needed him). When he married Tammy, I gained another friend.
“Steve is the only person I knew who loved Halloween as much as I do. We talked it up the entire month.
“He absolutely loved the FOP! He started early this year asking us to help do Shop With A Cop. He was dedicated to that also.
“Steve loved Tammy, Taylor and the rest of his family so much. He was crazy about the grandchildren. His family was everything to him.
“Steve, your friends and (law enforcement) family will always look after them.”
Josh Kirkland worked with Guthrie at the Sheriff’s Office.
“I have been trying to process this and I’m still having a hard time,” Kirkland said after learning of Guthrie’s death.
“Steve Guthrie was more than just a coworker — he was a good friend. I will miss going by his office to talk about work and ending up talking about life. He was the motivator not only at the Sheriff’s Office but in the FOP as well. I will miss you, my brother.”
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) Secretary Hal Taylor issued a statement regarding the untimely loss of the deputy, saying in part, “As the family, Sheriff’s Office and the community grieve, I have assured Sheriff Sims that we will make all ALEA resources available as they attempt to cope with this tragic loss.”