Officer Stephen "Steve" Gilner was born January 6,1967, in Port Jefferson, New York. After graduating from high school in 1985, Steve immediately joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served four years with an engineering battalion before being honorably discharged in 1989.
Steve joined the Cobb County Police Department on July 5, 1992, and served as a uniform patrol officer, motorcycle officer and DUI Task Force officer. On April 23, 1998, Steve was selected to be a member to the prestigious Cobb County Police Department SWAT Team.
On July 23, 1999, Steve was assigned to the SWAT entry team to perform a hostage rescue of an elderly woman. The suspect, Greg Smith, had already shot one police officer earlier in the day and would not negotiate with the crisis negotiation team.
Upon entry to the residence the SWAT Team came under heavy gunfire at which time Sergeant Steve Reeves was fatally wounded. Steve, realizing Sergeant Reeves was hit, pulled him from the doorway and placed him outside the residence.
Steve then re-entered the residence to assist the other team members who were pinned down, but was fatally wounded by the suspect.
Approximately 16 hours after the situation began a Cobb County Sheriff's Office SWAT Team Marksmen killed the suspect, and the female hostage was freed unharmed.
Officer Stephen Gilner was posthumously awarded the Cobb County Police Department's Medal of Valor for his heroic actions. Officer Gilner was a faithful husband, father, son and brother and will never be forgotten by our department.