Mar 1, 2024

An Embodiment of Courage and Innovation Through Advocacy

Pursuit of Greatness
An Embodiment of Courage and Innovation Through Advocacy

Austin’s lifelong goal of contributing to the greater good has been amplified by Phi Delta Theta, enabling him to inspire and effect meaningful change beyond his expectations. Austin was a marine reservist pursuing his education at the University of West Georgia. While there was initial interest in Greek Life on campus, Austin sought an experience that broke away from the norm of other Fraternities. This vision led him to become the thirteenth founder of the Phi Delta Theta emerging chapter at UWG and its first president.

Upon completing his presidency, Austin attended the Georgia Police Academy. Following his training, he assumed a full-time role as a police officer at UWG, observing his chapter’s growth and achievements from a distance with pride. Austin graduated with the class of 2017.

In 2018, Austin’s commitment to service and advocacy took him on a remarkable journey to the Dunwoody Police Department in Atlanta, Georgia. As a new police officer, he faced challenges within the law enforcement community, moving up the ranks covering international fraud investigations in 2020, seemingly the start of a promising and exciting career with the department. However, he bore witness to issues of deep-rooted corruption, misconduct, and sexual exploitation.

Austin’s unwavering commitment to transparency and integrity led him to bring to light the issues on social media. Despite the retaliation he received personally and professionally in the department, Austin connected with an audience on social media that brought massive attention to these issues, gaining nationwide support for his whistleblowing.

His courageous actions sparked a national dialogue on police reform and accountability, earning him recognition as a champion for change. Through social media and public speaking engagements, Austin amplified his message by founding The Lamplighter Project, advocating for whistleblower protections and the need for ethical leadership in law enforcement from New York to California.

His innovative spirit also shines through his work with Apollo AI, a technology platform designed to enhance the capabilities of first responders and improve community safety. Since his appearance in 2020 on our “Road to Greatness” series, Apollo AI has won three national awards from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

“Rectitude inspired me to continue pushing for change within our police department, and led me to speaking out when it mattered most, and reinforced my commitment to doing what is right.”

Austin Handle, UWG ’17

In addition to his law enforcement duties, Austin’s dedication to service led him to join Team Rubicon, where he responded to natural disasters worldwide. He provided humanitarian aid, taught medical skills in Honduras, assisted in recovery efforts in Alaska and Kentucky, and even had the opportunity to be near President Biden in 2022 during a speech in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, showcasing his unwavering commitment to humanitarian service.

Austin’s unwavering commitment to Phi Delta Theta’s Cardinal Principles has remained steadfast throughout his journey. Guiding him through adversity, inspiring him to stand up for those who feel like they cannot, and leading by example to do what is right.

Currently, Austin works as the director of business development at Hawkeye, a cutting-edge safety platform designed by first responders and former special operations veterans. Hawkeye works to ensure the safety and security of users worldwide, with a focus on study-abroad students, businesses, and travelers.

To learn more about Austin’s advocacy work, visit the Lamplighter Project website and follow him on TikTok @Officer.ASH to stay updated on his inspiring journey.

Nominate a Phi Delt

Know a Phi Delt who is doing extraordinary things? Nominate him for the Pursuit of Greatness for a chance to see him featured!

Start a Nomination

Help Us Share Phi Delt News and Stories

Our team works hard to bring you the best news and stories from the Phi Delt community, but we also need your input. Whether you’re looking to share news, nominate a fellow Phi for our Pursuit of Greatness series, or contribute content, we’re all ears.

Become a Contributor

Share news and stories you think your fellow Phi Delts would find interesting and useful, or collaborate with us as a guest writer to share your insights and perspective about a certain topic.

Nominate a Phi Delt

Know a Phi Delt who is doing extraordinary things? Nominate him for for a chance to be featured in our Pursuit of Greatness campaign.