CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - The search for a suspect continues after a Long County deputy was killed early this morning while helping in a high speed chase.
As we’ve learned more about what led to Deputy Sheldon Whiteman’s death, we’ve also been able to learn a little more about the man behind the badge.
Before working for the Long County Sheriff’s Office, Whiteman was a deputy with the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputy Sheldon Whiteman may have only served at the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office for four years, but he made an impact that will last a lifetime.
“His smile was the thing that, you know, it represented him," said Sgt. Julius Johnson, CCSO. "As soon as you see it, ‘hey boy!’ and just the flash of his smile, it’s like, you knew everything was good.”
The fact that Deputy Whiteman died while serving his community doesn’t come as a surprise to those who knew him best.
“Sheldon was a dedicated guy. He loved his job. He loved the people that he worked with and always willing to help. He was always willing to help someone who was in need no matter what.”
He said their relationship went beyond work and after Deputy Whiteman went to Long County, they frequently talked on the phone.
“I met his wife, his sons, beautiful young men, and his beautiful wife. He met my beautiful better half and some of my kids and some of the grands and we just hit it off. He was just that type of dude.”
Sergeant Johnson said that Deputy Whiteman left behind a wife and three sons. His message to them was simple and heartfelt.
“We loved him. We’re going to miss him and whatever you need - don’t hesitate to ask.”
Sheriff Whilcher says he was a sharp and committed deputy. He says he will always remember his smile and willingness to help.
The Sheriff was in Atlanta when he got the news and called it a sad day - knowing they lost a great man and deputy who served his community well.
“One of the things I always stress to anybody, we don’t run from trouble, we run to it. He was running to trouble trying to get something done that he was chosen to do as his profession and now we as the people that are here now are running to him to help him,” said Sheriff Whilcher.
The sheriff says his department will be at Deputy Whiteman’s funeral in full force to honor his commitment and will support his family however they can.
According to Howard Funeral Home, visitation will be held Friday at 5 p.m. Funeral services will be held the following day at 11 a.m. Both the visitation and the service will be held at the Long County High School gym. Those wishing to attend are asked to wear blue in honor of Deputy Whiteman.