Frank Hynes, 68: Youngest Atlanta police lieutenant later helped Coke

Frank Hynes started as a teenage turnkey at the Atlanta drunk tank and ended up becoming worldwide director of security at Coca Cola.

Friends and family members describe an enthusiastic, competitive fellow with 11 siblings who strove to excel at all he did, whether it was making 37 tackles in a game as a 160-pound middle linebacker at Marist, becoming the youngest lieutenant in the history of Atlanta police or coming off midnight duty to walk across the street to class at Georgia State University.

“He’d go to class in his police uniform,” said his older brother, David. “I always accused him of trying to intimidate his professors.”

Hynes died June 23 of acute myeloid leukemia at his home in Gainesville. He was 68.

Brian Hitt, a retired federal law enforcement agent, met Hynes in college and later on the Atlanta force.

Early on, a captain told the two, “To do this job well, you need two bones, a backbone and a funny bone. Never lose them and you’ll go far.”

“Frank never lost either,” Hitt said.

Hynes was an early member of the Georgia Organized Crime Prevention Council, a collective that pulled together teams from metro police departments to share information. Hitt said officers from other departments were wary of the arrangement at first but warmed up once Hynes started giving them valuable tips that helped in their own cases.

This was the early 1970s before technology was widespread, so the young Hynes worked the phones and tracked down criminals and experts to create information networks.

Back then, Atlanta was growing and some Mafia chieftains from the North saw opportunity in the South and invested in nightclubs. Hitt said the task force’s work helped close at least two such operations.

Hynes’ effort led to his promotion to lieutenant. But there was a problem: He was too young.

“They had to pass a city ordinance because he was promoted before his 25th birthday,” Hitt said. “Frank was very innovative and threatening to some people because he came up so fast. He had vision.”

In 1974, Hynes was the police liaison with the FBI when Atlanta Constitution editor Reg Murphy was kidnapped. Murphy was freed after a couple of days, and the FBI agent in charge liked Hynes’ work ethic so much he asked the officer to come along with him to Coca-Cola to work security.

Years later, while working a case for Coke in Venezuela, Hynes fell through the roof of a building and landed on a cement pad 50 feet below, breaking numerous bones, rupturing his spleen and puncturing his lungs. He was plagued by health problems the rest of his life. Still, he rose to head security at Coke, Hitt said, before retiring and going out on his own.

Later in life, he was active with the Lake Lanier Rowing Club.

Hynes is survived by his, wife, Ann Marie Hynes, of Gainesville; son Matt of Colorado; daughters E. Ansley Hynes-Michaud and Audrey Kilinski of Atlanta; four grandchildren; brother David of Marietta; sister Catherine Hynes of Atlanta; twin sister Frances Reifler of Winston-Salem, N.C.; sister Helen Pharr of Atlanta; brother Paul of Atlanta; sister Laura Hynes Keller of New York; brother Joe of Atlanta and sister Julie Lococo of Atlanta.