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Georgia Department of Public Health encourages “eclipse glasses” for 2017 total eclipse

North Ga. – On Monday, Aug. 21, Georgia will be among 14 states to experience a total eclipse of the sun. The Georgia Department of Public Health reminds those who will watch the solar eclipse that it’s never safe to look directly at the sun, or eye damage may occur.

Viewing the solar eclipse should be done through “eclipse glasses” that meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. See the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers for a list of dealers of eclipse glasses. To find out which libraries near you are distributing free eclipse glasses, see the library map on the STAR_Net website.

Retinal damage to eyes may occur while attempting to stare at the sun. Solar retinopathy is a result of too much ultraviolet light flooding the retina. Never look directly at the sun without proper protection – using ISO 12312-2 lenses. If you damage your eyes trying to view the solar eclipse, please contact your healthcare provider.

NASA’s additional recommendations for safe eclipse viewing are:

  • Stand still, and put on your eclipse glasses before looking up at the eclipse. Turn away to remove your eclipse glasses — do not remove them while looking at the sun.
  • Do not look at the eclipse through a camera, a telescope or binoculars while using your eclipse glasses — the sun will damage the filter and your eyes.
  • Always inspect your eclipse glasses before use; if scratched or damaged, do not use.
  • Supervise children viewing the eclipse.
  • Remove your eclipse glasses only when the moon completely covers the sun and it gets dark. Then, as soon as the sun begins to reappear, put your eclipse glasses back on.

The last time the U.S. saw a total eclipse was 1979. During this year’s eclipse, the moon will fully block the sun for two minutes and 40 seconds. Only the northeast corner of Georgia will experience this; the rest of the state will see a partial eclipse. The moon will pass between the Earth and the sun, blocking all or part of the sun, for up to three hours.

Learn more about safely viewing the solar eclipse at: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety.

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ROWLETTE’S CUSTOMER SERVICE, APPRAISER KNOWLEDGE EARN HER WHITFIELD CO EOM HONORS

By MITCH TALLEY

Whitfield County Director of Communications

 

Working in the Whitfield County Tax Assessor’s Office, Lori Rowlette goes to great lengths to assist the taxpayers of the county.

That’s the word from one of the four co-workers who successfully nominated Rowlette as Whitfield County Employee of the Month for June.

Rowlette has achieved her Appraiser II certification from the Georgia Department of Revenue and is working towards her Appraiser III certification, scheduled to take the exam in August, as she strives to do an even better job for local residents.

Compliments from her fellow workers who nominated her for the award include:

“Lori has knowledge of all aspects of the office. She is willing to assist in any task asked.”

“Excellent customer service!”

“Very knowledgeable of rules and regulations on taxation and guiding taxpayers through the process of filing Business Personal Property and Freeport returns with courtesy and professionalism.”

“Lori is an expert on Freeport Exemption.”

Rowlette is also very active in charity activities, including the United Way Halloween Costume Contest, United Way Bake Sale, and Office Christmas Child, as well as helping with meals for office socials.

To help local residents learn more about her, Rowlette filled out the following fun questionnaire.

Name: Lori Rowlette

Job title: Personal Property Appraiser

Time with the county: Going on 11 years

Where I went to high school: Winder Barrow High School in Winder

My role as a county employee: Appraise business assets and the Freeport Exemption

What keeps my job interesting: It’s a new challenge every day plus I get to work with a wide cross section of people. It’s always interesting.

What gives me a sense of accomplishment on the job: Being able to help people.

The most important thing I’ve done on the job: Helping to demystify what we do and letting people know that we care about them and the county.

Where I grew up: My Dad was in the U.S. Air Force so we moved a lot. I counted one time that I had moved over 20 times by my 18th birthday, but Northwest Georgia has always been home.

Family: Single/never married – no children but 12 nieces and nephews

After work, I enjoy: Reading, listening to music, baking, DIY around my house and enjoying the mountains around our area

Community activities: Helping people when I can

Favorite TV show: Supernatural

Favorite sport/sport team: UGA

Favorite meal: I would love to have a spread like my family used to fix for Meemaw’s birthday. You would gain 20 pounds walking in her back door. It was a mix between Christmas dinner  and a cook out. Uncle Max would not eat for three days before the meal and would create a moat of food around the edge of the plate then fill the center in. I miss those meals.

Favorite song: It’s a tie between “Runaway” by Del Shannon and “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King.

Favorite Whitfield County restaurant: Town Square Café – Jennie is a sweetheart

Favorite Whitfield County event: I’ll have to say the employee luncheon. Starting in late summer/early fall our office is taken over by the decorations. It’s always neat to see what ideas Jennifer Jones comes up with.

You can pick four people to have dinner with (anyone from any time in history) – who are your four people and why? Oh Lord that’s a hard one. My late brother Michael Rowlette, Peter Carl Faberge because of his jewelry designs, Dale Chihuly to talk about his glass sculptures, hmmm the last one is a tie between William Morris and Frank Lloyd Wright since I’ve always been intrigued by their designs.

I’m most proud of: Never giving up and always trying to improve myself

Cats or dogs? Dogs

Cake or pie? Cake

Favorite car? 1965 Shelby Cobra

Host or be hosted? Host

Early riser or sleep-in: Lol, depends on the day of the week and my internal clock

Favorite vacation ever: Visiting New Orleans prior to Katrina circa 2000.

Best teacher you ever had: Oh this is a tough one. I have two. Mrs. Ann Landress who taught art at WBHS and Mrs. Jett who taught clothing at WBHS.

Pet peeve: Rude people and bad drivers.

If I’ve learned one thing in life, it’s: Never give up and things are going to get better, just have to have faith.

Who has had the most impact on my life: My Dad. He is my rock. He is the one who introduced me to art and architecture.

What’s left on my bucket list: Lol, the whole bucket. Going to Murano, Italy and get lost among all the glass studios. Visiting Scotland and tracing where my family has come from. Just exploring the world.

If I could have been in any profession of my choosing, I would have been a: A jewelry designer or historical preservationist.

If I could have two wishes, they would be: To meet my granddaddy Clayton Rowlette and see my loved ones who are no longer with us.

You’d be surprised to learn that I: Have taken classes to be a certified gemologist through GIA  (Gemological Institute of America). I’m also learning how to make lamp work glass beads. Yes, me – an open flame plus molten glass!

The best advice I ever got: Take a deep breath and think before you speak.

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Dalton Firefighters Promoted

By Bruce Frazier:

 

Twelve Promotions Approved

Twelve Dalton firefighters had their promotions or reassignments approved by the Public Safety Commission at the board’s monthly meeting on Tuesday. The promotions filled positions left vacant by recent retirements and promotions.

Keith Dempsey was promoted to Training Division Coordinator, replacing Deputy Chief Ricky Busby. Dempsey had served as an assistant in the Training Division since June of 2005. He joined the Dalton Fire Department in August 2003. He holds a master’s degree in fire and emergency management from Oklahoma State University and holds an Executive Fire Officer designation from the National Fire Academy. He is a graduate of the prestigious FLAMES (Firefighters Laboring And Mastering Essential Skills) program.

Chad Young was promoted to the rank of captain after serving as a lieutenant for six years. Captain Young has served the agency since March 2001. Captain Young has earned praise for his leadership skills since becoming an officer in 2011. Dalton Fire Chief Todd Pangle noted on Tuesday that Captain Young can operate all positions within the Suppression Division, making him a valuable asset as a leader.

Dan Hudson and Mike Ballew were both promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Lt. Hudson joined the fire department in November 2003 and has held the rank of Firefighter III since September 2014. In that role, Lt. Hudson has had an opportunity to serve as an officer in a fill-in role and has performed well. He is a Georgia Smoke Diver and a FLAMES graduate. Lt. Ballew joined the DFD in February 2001 and has served as a Firefighter III since August 2007, which also gave him the opportunity to serve as the officer in charge on a number of incidents.

Jason Suddeth and Matt Asbell were both promoted to the rank of Firefighter III. Suddeth has served the department since February 1999, serving in recent years as an engineer. Chief Pangle noted that Suddeth has gained experience in a great deal of different emergencies and has emerged as an informal leader in the department. Asbell joined the department in January 2003, also serving as an engineer until this morning’s promotion. Asbell is active in assisting with training and also assists with maintaining the department’s SCBA air tanks as an SCBA technician.

Firefighter IIs Ken Hostetler and Barry Gilley and Firefighter Dale Reed were all promoted to the rank of engineer. Engineer Hostetler joined the DFD in March 2006 and is a Georgia Smoke Diver. Engineer Gilley also joined in the agency in March 2006 and is a paramedic in addition to his firefighting duties. Engineer Reed has served the fire department since July 2011 and is a Georgia Smoke Diver and FLAMES graduate.

Firefighters Brandon Glass and Bobby Blackwell were both promoted to the rank of Firefighter II. Glass joined the DFD in January 2013 and is a Georgia Smoke Diver and FLAMES graduate. Blackwell has served since July 2011, and has worked to compile an impressive training profile while also serving as a relief driver on multiple occasions.

Engineer Scott Hearn was reassigned as an Inspector in the Preventions Division. Inspector Hearn has been working with the Preventions Division to gain all of the certifications needed to move into the role.

Each promotion was approved by a unanimous 3-0 vote of the Public Safety Commission. Commission members Carlos Calderin and Keith Whitworth did not attend Tuesday morning’s meeting.

 

DPD Officers Honored For Life-Saving Effort

The Public Safety Commission also recognized three Dalton Police Department officers for their role in saving a man who stopped breathing at the Dalton Fairgrounds in June. Assistant Chief Cliff Cason presented a certificate of recognition from the American Heart Association to Sergeant Woody Cantrell and Officers Dexter Kapur and Blake Edwards.

The officers were dispatched to the North Georgia Fairgrounds at 500 Legion Drive on June 6th at approximately 8:00 pm with a report of a man who had stopped breathing. When Officer Dexter Kapur arrived, he found a 65-year old man unresponsive on the ground. Officer Kapur began to give chest compressions to the patient and continued while Sergeant Woody Cantrell set up an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on the patient. The AED analyzed the patient’s vitals and advised that the patient needed a shock, which Sergeant Cantrell delivered. After the shock, the patient began to gasp for air and Officer Blake Edwards began to deliver air using a CPR mask while Officer Kapur resumed chest compressions. The officers continued CPR until Dalton firefighters and Hamilton EMS paramedics arrived to take over the patient’s care. The patient was transported with normal heart and respiration rates to Hamilton Medical Center and was expected to make a full recovery.

The Dalton Public Safety Commission is comprised of Chairman William B. Weaver, Carlos Calderin, Terry Mathis, Keith Whitworth, and Kenneth E. Willis.

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Twelve North Georgians receive post-EXPOSURE RABIES treatment

Two puppies and a kitten test positive for rabies

 

Dalton (GA) – North Georgia Health District officials announced today that twelve people are currently receiving post-exposure rabies treatment due to contact with domestic animals that have now tested positive for the disease.

Within the past two weeks, two puppies and a kitten have been confirmed by the Georgia Public Health Laboratory as having rabies. All three pets were too young to receive rabies vaccinations. One of the puppies was in Whitfield County and the other was in Gilmer County. The kitten was in Cherokee County. In each case, the pet was attacked by a rabid wild animal and bitten in the head, but it was not reported to veterinarians or health authorities until rabies symptoms developed in the pet.

The time between being bitten by the wild animal and onset of rabies symptoms was very short because the head bites were close to the brain. The rabies virus only travels through the nervous system to the brain, not through blood or other organs. The closer a bite is from the brain, the shorter time it takes to reach the brain.

Wild animals that transmitted rabies to the puppies and kitten were a skunk, a raccoon and, possibly, a coyote.

The fact that these unrelated cases occurred in separate areas of the North Georgia Health District within the past two weeks is a coincidence, and even more coincidental is that all pets involved were too young to vaccinate. Pets must be at least three months old to be vaccinated against rabies.

Parents are strongly cautioned to keep children away from wild animals, strays and unvaccinated pets that may have been in contact with wild animals. Vaccinate all dogs and cats at three months of age and no later.

Wild carnivores are the animals most likely to spread rabies to pets and humans, including raccoons, skunks, foxes, bobcats, and coyotes. It is also not uncommon for persons to acquire rabies from bats. Any bite or other physical contact with a bat or any of these wild carnivores should be evaluated by a medical professional for rabies exposure. Even finding a bat in a bedroom where a person has been sleeping is cause for alarm and should be reported. Human deaths from rabies in the United States are rare, but because rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms begin to develop in a human, the only prevention is anti-rabies treatments given as soon as possible after exposure to rabies. If given in time, the treatments are 100 percent effective in preventing rabies. Only a small minority of wild animals carry and transmit rabies, so indiscriminate killing of them is not warranted. If these types of wild animals or domestic animals seem to be behaving strangely or displaying symptoms suggestive of a neurological illness, contact a veterinarian and the county Environmental Health office at once.

Livestock animals are also susceptible to rabies but can be vaccinated by a veterinarian. Rabies vaccinations are strongly recommended for show livestock and any livestock with which humans have regular contact such as riding horses.

Contact the local Environmental Health Office for questions about rabies or to report an incident that may involve rabies. Contact information for Environmental Health offices in the North Georgia Health District is available at www.nghd.org. Questions and reports may also be directed to the North Georgia Health District Environmental Health office in Dalton, Georgia by calling (706) 529-5757, extension 1161.

Find additional information on CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/index.html.

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Dalton PD Investigating Credit Card Theft

By Bruce Frazier:

The Dalton Police Department is asking for the public’s help identifying a man who used a credit card stolen from a swim meet in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia at several locations in Dalton. The suspect used the stolen credit card to make purchases at four different locations for purchases totaling more than $250 in Dalton on July 15th, a short time after the victim’s wallet was stolen after possibly being forgotten on a counter at a swimmiong pool concession stand in Fort Oglethorpe. The suspect also attempted to use the stolen card to withdraw money from several ATMs, but failed.

The suspect used the stolen American Express card at the the Circle K at 1200 Glenwood Avenue, the Chevron at 100 North Oaks Drive, Shugart Road Murphy USA service station, and the Shugart Road Walmart. At the Walmart, the suspect bought a Samsung cell phone and a calling card.

The suspect is a skinny Hispanic male with dark hair and a dark mustache. He was recorded by store surveillance wearing a green polo shirt with dark stripes. He was a passenger in a silver Ford SUV with an unknown license plate.

Anyone who recognizes the suspect is asked to please contact Detective Jacob Burger at 706-278-9085, dial 9 and enter extension 325.

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METCALF’S POSITIVE ATTITUDE HELPS 911 CENTER DURING MULTIPLE PROJECTS

15-year veteran honored as Whitfield County Employee of the Month for May

 

By MITCH TALLEY

Whitfield County Director of Communications

 

The Whitfield County 911 Center has made plenty of changes over the past 15 years, and one of the people helping make sure those improvements go smoothly has been David Metcalf, shift supervisor.

His positive attitude and willingness to tackle any job have earned him the respect of his co-workers – as well as Whitfield County Employee of the Month honors for May.

“David has worked diligently beyond his scope of responsibilities to assist in successful Sungard CAD, Motorola Radio, VIPER Phone, and Watson Furniture projects,” said Ashlee Zahn, deputy director. “He has ensured that the team has kept on task. David has kept a great attitude and made every effort to ensure that the department is growing and moving in a positive direction to create a better environment for 911 employees.”

Mefcalf has assisted in the hiring process and project implementations and has built relationships with client agencies to ensure smooth transitions to the Superion CAD/MCT systems with Whitfield County Fire, Hamilton EMS, and Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office.

“David has been supportive of his shift employees during these multiple projects that have been in conjunction with staffing issues,” Zahn said. “He has shown to be an effective shift supervisor and leader.”

To allow county residents to get to know him a little better, Metcalf took a few moments to fill out the following fun questionnaire.

Name: David Metcalf

Job title:  Supervisor / CAD Administrator

Time with the county: 15 years

Where I went to school: Southeast High School and Dalton State College

My role as a county employee: Serve the community

What keeps my job interesting:  The different types of training classes that I get to attend.

What gives me a sense of accomplishment on the job: Knowing I helped someone when they needed it.

The most important thing I’ve done on the job: Talking someone out of committing suicide.

Where I grew up: Dalton

Family: My wife, Alicia, and I have two sons, Deacon and Dawson. And a baby girl on the way.

After work, I enjoy: Watching my children play sports.

Community activities: Volunteering at my son’s schools and coaching tee-ball and youth soccer.

Favorite TV show: ESPN

Favorite sport/sport team: Georgia Bulldogs

Favorite meal: BBQ

Favorite song: “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin

Favorite Whitfield County restaurant: Lalos

Favorite Whitfield County event: Screen on the Green

You can pick four people to have dinner with (anyone from any time in history) – who are your four people and why?

  1. My Mom-Both parents passed away, would be nice just to see them again.
  2. My Dad-Both parents passed away, would be nice just to see them again.
  3. John F. Kennedy- Who wouldn’t want to have dinner with him?
  4. Herschel Walker- I would just like to sit there and listen to his stories about football.

I’m most proud of: My sons

Cats or dogs? One dog

Cake or pie? Strawberry pie

Favorite car? Land Rover

Host or be hosted? Host

Early riser or sleep-in: Early riser

Favorite vacation ever: Las Vegas

Best teacher you ever had: Mrs. Bramblett

Pet peeve: Procrastination

If I’ve learned one thing in life, it’s: hard being an adult.

Who has had the most impact on my life: My Mom.

What’s left on my bucket list: Skydive

If I could have been in any profession of my choosing, I would have been a: Doctor

If I could have two wishes, they would be:

  1. For my family to be healthy
  2. No more gray hair

You’d be surprised to learn that I: Had breakfast with Brett Favre. Well kinda … he sat at a table next to me.

The best advice I ever got: Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.

Anything else you’d like to say: Go Dawgs!!

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DPD Officers Now Carrying Narcan To Fight Drug Overdoses

By Bruce Frazier:

Officers from the Dalton Police Department are now carrying a new tool to help victims of drug overdoses. The DPD has issued overdose reversal kits to officers which can be administered in the field to people who are experiencing an opioid overdose. The kit contains Narcan, a nasal spray form of the drug Naloxone which blocks the effects of opioids and can reverse an overdose. The overdose kits were purchased with funds form a grant from the Medical Association of Georgia Foundation.

Opioids are a class of drugs that include not only illegal drugs such as heroin, but also prescription painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and others. Opioid abuse is becoming more common across the country and so are incidences of deaths from opioid overdoses. Earlier this month, there was an outbreak of drug overdoses around the Macon, Georgia area that included as many as 20 cases and five deaths.

In addition to protecting members of the public who may be suffering a drug overdose, the police department’s deployment of naloxone is also intended as a measure to protect our own officers. Nationwide, there have been several cases of officers overdosing after being accidentally exposed to fentanyl or carfentanyl during investigations which can be absorbed through the skin.

“Drug overdoses are quite common in our community, and with the addition of fentanyl to these drugs, it’s more likely to lead to a quick death,” said Dalton Police Chief Jason Parker. “We also have to be concerned about the risk of exposure to our officers.”

Because law enforcement officers often arrive on the scene of an overdose before emergency medical personnel, they can be in a position to save the life of a patient who is experiencing an overdose. Part of the Medical Association of Georgia’s “Project DAN (Deaths Avoided By Naloxone)” is to equip first responders with Narcan and to train officers how to use it. Dalton Police Department officers recently received training online on how to recognize an opioid overdose and how to use Narcan to try to help victims. The Narcan nasal spray is easy for officers or other first responders to administer to an overdose victim.

“The overdose reversal drug the officers are now carrying is easy to administer, and safe for the victim,” Chief Parker said. “Its active ingredients target only the opioid drugs in the system. Having a nasal spray makes it much simpler and safer for the officer versus an injection”

 Georgia’s 911 Medical Amnesty Law was enacted in 2014 and provides amnesty for people who witness a drug overdose and call 911 to get help for the victim. The 911 caller cannot be prosecuted for small amounts of drugs, alcohol, or other drug paraphernalia if they were discovered as a result of a 911 call for medical help. Symptoms of an opioid overdose include slowed breathing, sleepiness and being difficult to wake up, and “pin point” pupils (which may not be present if other drugs have also been used). If you see someone who has been using opioids with these symptoms, it is important to call 911 to get help.

 “We are very aggressively targeting the drug manufacturers and dealers, but the bottom line as it relates to overdose situations is that individual drug users can call for help if they or another person is overdosing and the focus is going to be on the medical issue and human survival,” Chief Parker explained. “The same goes for a family member or friend of the overdosing victim who may hesitate to call for help out of fear the overdosing person being charged”

 The Narcan nasal spray issued to DPD officers through this grant has a shelf life of up to five years. All Dalton officers in the field have been issued overdose kits and have been trained to use them.

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WHITFIELD COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE DEDICATES NEW TRAINING FACILITY

5,000-square-foot center dedicated in honor of Capt. Rick Swiney, who’s been with the sheriff’s office for 43 years

 

By MITCH TALLEY:

Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood congratulates Capt. Rick Swiney after announcing that the department’s new training facility would be named in his honor. Looking on are Maj. John Gibson (left) and Sgt. Tracy Davis. (Photo by Mitch Talley).

Years from now, area law enforcement officers will still be reaping the benefits of the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office’s new Training Center and Firing Range that was dedicated during a June 14 ceremony.

That was the word from Sheriff Scott Chitwood, who addressed a large crowd of area lawmen, county officials, and other well-wishers on a bright, sunny day outside the facility located on Old Prater’s Mill Road.

“This is a very special day for us,” the sheriff said. “This is going to be a facility that will be here for many, many years to come. When the time comes and we pass the torch off, we’re going to leave this facility and the jail in much better shape than when we entered law enforcement. The next generation’s going to have something to be proud of.”

Best of all, taxpayers didn’t have to foot the bill for the 5,000-square-foot facility, which was paid for with drug forfeiture funds. The metal and concrete block building features a large meeting room fitted with the latest technology, along with a kitchen, offices, restrooms, and storage rooms.

The site also still includes the firing range, the old training building, and the shooting house where instructors can oversee activity – all of which were also refurbished with funds seized from criminals. Construction and renovations totaled about $300,000, officials said.

Visitors talk inside the new Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office training facility on Old Prater’s Mill Road before a dedication ceremony on June 14. (Photo by Mitch Talley).

A highlight of the ceremony came when a sign outside the new building was uncovered, revealing that the facility was being dedicated to Capt. Rick Swiney, a 43-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office.

“I was totally shocked when I saw the new Sheriff’s Office Training Center and Firing Range was being dedicated to me,” Swiney said. “It was a total surprise, and a very humbling experience. It is a day and experience that I will always cherish. I appreciate Sheriff Chitwood and Major (John) Gibson for thinking of me and selecting me for such an honorable award. This administration has always been supportive to me and all the other employees of the sheriff’s office.”

Swiney said he has enjoyed his 43 years with the sheriff’s office, calling it a “very rewarding experience.”

“I work with a great group of officers who are very dedicated to their work,” he said. “They make coming to work each day an enjoyable experience.”

He also thanked his wife, Cathy, and other members of his family who were at the ceremony. “Cathy has always been by my side,” he said, “and supported me during my career at the sheriff’s office.”

Sheriff Scott Chitwood addresses the large crowd that gathered June 14 for the dedication ceremony for the new Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office Training Center and Firing Range. Standing to the right of the sheriff are Maj. John Gibson and Bishop Reuben Graham, one of the chaplains at the jail, who delivered a prayer of dedication. (Photo by Mitch Talley).

His wife and a select few who knew about the honor were sworn to secrecy by the sheriff, “and it was the hardest thing to keep a secret from him,” Cathy admitted. “They didn’t tell me till last week because I can’t keep a secret. To look at him all weekend, I had to turn my head.”

She said the whole family is proud of him. “He’s a humble man and doesn’t like attention,” she said. “We’ve been blessed, and it’s an honor.”

Sheriff Chitwood pointed out that he and Capt. Swiney are the only two remaining officers in the sheriff’s office to have worked in the old jail on South Hamilton, the old jail on Waugh Street, and the current facility.

“He’s been with me for 25 years,” the sheriff said. “Eight elections if I counted right that he has survived – that is unprecedented. He’s got 43 years – and I’m not hinting for him to leave – with not only the sheriff’s office but with Whitfield County. He’s the fourth most senior employee of Whitfield County.”

The sheriff’s office has been using the old training facility for about 30 years, including for the annual Old Timer’s Shoot where retired lawmen from throughout Georgia earn their federal concealed weapons carry permits.

One such retiree who attended last week’s dedication is Mike Key, a retired lieutenant with the Dalton Police Department.

“I did firearms training up here for many, many years with the police department,” Key said. “This new facility is state of the art – a super thing for not only the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office but law enforcement in the region. There’s a lot of people who come here and train – very convenient. It’s just got good people, good instructors, good facility, a very rare combination of things that came together – the donation of the property, the labor and the buildings, and the use of drug forfeitures to build it.”

Cutting the ribbon at the new training facility are (from left) Capt. Charles Bunch, Maj. John Gibson, Capt. Rick Swiney, Sheriff Scott Chitwood, Capt. Steve Fields, and Capt. Wesley Lynch. (Photo by Mitch Talley).

In the 1980s, local businessman Jim Boring and former Sheriff Jim Stafford reached an agreement that the old training facility and shooting range could be built on Boring’s land, for $1 rent each year.

“Last year, Jim’s son, Marcus Boring, was kind enough to sign the property over to us, so now this property belongs to the sheriff’s office,” Chitwood said, noting that transfer allowed the county to make improvements to the facility. “Marcus, thank you very much. He’s certainly a great friend and great supporter not only of me but of law enforcement in general, so again, Marcus, we thank you very much.”

The sheriff also praised the efforts of Maj. Gibson, calling it “almost a personal dream of his to have a training facility to train officers – he was very, very involved.”

Chitwood likewise lauded the work of Sgt. Tracy Davis, who did much of the construction work himself with the help of inmate work crews and the county Public Works department.

“After the concrete slab was poured, after the beams went up, after the steel went up on the building, it was basically turned over and Tracy brought the trustees up here,” the sheriff said. “It is amazing the talent, the skills that this guy has. He put the fence posts up, got the sod and laid it, planted the shrubbery, did the insulation, the wiring, the carpet, the tiles in the bathroom and kitchen, got the cabinets done, remodeled the old building, remodeled the shoot house out there. We got a real good deal with this guy over here – Tracy, thank you.”

Chitwood also applauded the Mashburn Foundation, which made a “very, very generous donation” that will pay for a decision-making / shooting simulator that will be installed in the coming weeks at the old training center. “This will highly, highly enhance the training of our officers for many, many years to come,” he said.

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Dalton Area Weather from WDNN

Now on Optilink 216 – Charter 13

Now on Optilink 216 – Charter 13