CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - On Wednesday, WTOC received the terrible news we had lost a true champion of public safety in Chatham County.
Sheriff Al St Lawrence, law enforcement veteran of 56 years, died in his home Tuesday night with his family by his side.
St Lawrence had been fighting cancer and had just completed an intense round of chemotherapy treatments a couple weeks ago. And it was also a couple weeks ago, the Chatham County Sheriff's Office adamantly denied reports the Sheriff was incapacitated and no longer controlling operations at the jail.
WTOC's David Klugh asked Chief Deputy Roy Harris once again if the Sheriff had a decision making role in his own department over the last two weeks. His answer was a resounding, yes.
"I'm certainly not anybody to get up and risk my integrity telling the media something that's not true. So, yes, he was very sick, he was very weak but his mind was sound. As soon as we saw where he was getting where he could not communicate, it dropped at first to a whisper and then to where it was none, we had the county attorney's office notify the governor's office of the situation," said Chief Deputy Roy Harris, interim Chatham County Sheriff.
Harris says the Sheriff was still giving input into the jail operations as late as last Friday and reiterated the department was fully expecting the Sheriff to return to work after the holidays.