Local News

Chatham County Sheriff Prepares To Put On Badge For Final Time

Posted November 28, 2000

— He is the one man who knows every inch of Chatham County, and he has spent most of his life keeping people who live there safe. Thursday, Sheriff Don Whitt will put on his badge for the last time.

Whitt spent 35 years protecting the people of Chatham County, and he still has plenty of stories to tell.

"Since 1965, I started out as a deputy in Goldston. We had six men in the department; three on the west side of the county and three on this side of the county," he says.

Just a day or so after signing up, Whitt was on the trail of a bank robber.

"We went to Sanford and started searching houses. They put me at the back of the house. They went to the front, and said if he comes out the back, grab him," he says. "I thought what in the world have I gotten myself into? No training, nothing. Just started out with a nightstick and a gun."

Whitt's office is cluttered with a collection that tells the tales of his career. He says he has seen a lot of things change over the years in Chatham County.

"Drugs wasn't a problem then, it was white liquor, and we busted up liquor stills," he says.

Sheriff Whitt says he is retiring for health reasons. He does not have any definite plans for the future, but he says his wife has a "Honey, do" list a mile long. Deputy Chief Ike Gray, a 17-year veteran, has been named interim sheriff.

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