Our town and our community are full of incredible people. There are men and women here that go above and beyond the call, whether it be at their job, the career, or so be it. This holds especially true when it comes to law enforcement officials. These people are heroes and they have dedicated their lives and their safety to protecting us all. One individual recently partook in an incredible achievement, completion of the 265th session of the FBI National Academy Program in Quantico, Virginia. Chief Deputy Jon Whitney sat down to tell us of his experiences and what this program truly means.
Chief Whitney has been in law enforcement since 1994 when he started in Kentucky before moving here in 98 where he started at the Sheriff’s Office here in Troup County. In 2007, Whitney began a career at the hospital for seven years as the director of public safety before returning to the Sheriff ’s Office with Sheriff Woodruff as Chief Deputy. His career has spanned 20 years as a dedicated civil servant before partaking in this exciting 10 week FBI training program.
After learning about the program from an FBI agent that the office had done some work in Atlanta, Deputy Whitney applied and was approved. Only a select few other people have gone through the program including Chief Bailey in West Point and Chief Dekmar at LPD. Deputy Whitney is the first representative from the Sheriff’s Office to have this honor. This class represents the top half of the one percent of all law enforcement in the United States. This class becomes a sorority of brothers that have connections all across the globe. At this particular class, only five people were representatives from Georgia.
The class itself is grueling and intense, as it accounts for not only rigorous activities but also presentation and academic aspects as well. Deputy Whitney gave a great over view of the program. “Networking was one of the huge aspects off of it but also academia [was big as well]. You started class at 7:30 every morning and you had areas of leadership, you had technical aspects, you had media aspects, and when you go through it you have to take so many courses…because they want you to be diverse.”
Deputy Whitney described a regular week at the camp. “You start class on Monday [7:30 to 4:30] and you may have PT that day, or you may not. Every Wednesday you had an enrichment speaker, someone from outside that came in and spoke to you. [Also] every Wednesday you had a physical challenge. You had nine challenges that you have to do during the week. The first week you have to run a mile under 10 minutes. [Eventually] what it all boils down to is that you are trying to get to the yellow brick road at the end which is a 6.2 mile obstacle course that you run. On the last Wednesday, you run the mile again… which is the last chance for the guys that didn’t make the 10 minute mile the first time to do it the second time. Some guys knocked as many as two minutes off their mile.”
Deputy Whitney said that you also have class on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays as well, classes that varied in important topics. With over 20 projects, papers, and presentations, the class was surely busy the entirety of their time. “It’s pretty intense. The way I equated it was to being a rookie police officer and a college freshman all wrapped into one but once you get settled in [you’re good]. It’s not a joke.” With weekends off, the class got to go on field trips to places like the Holocaust Museum, touring the HMX which is the unit that the President of the United States houses his helicopter, Philadelphia, the Newsuem, and even to New York City where they were granted access to the top level of the new Freedom Tower at ground zero, an area that is still under construction. At one point they even got to meet Director James Comey who met with them all in groups and discussed any and everything that they wanted. Deputy Whitney also wanted to express gratitude for Sheriff Woodruff letting him be gone for so long and away from his position. He is grateful for being the first representative of the Sheriff’s office to go through the program.
On the morning of Monday, September 19, the patrol room at the Sheriff’s Office was packed to the brim waiting for the return of Deputy Whitney after his graduation. The smells of eggs, bacon, sausage, and gravy filled the air as the office welcomed back one of their own. With so much negativity in the press regarding law enforcement, it is incredible to see the way these men and women gathered together to celebrate the success of their own and to celebrate a win. There were no sounds of handcuffs or Miranda Rights, just the sounds of laughter and the smells of breakfast foods.
Dedicated men and women like Chief Deputy Jon Whitney are what make this community great. Here you have a man that is already secure in his job and career, but chooses to partake in programs that continually help him grow even further in his career.
Troup County News is honored and privileged to be able to interview Deputy Whitney and for that matter, any man or woman in this community that has the bravery and courage to put a badge on their chest and a gun at their waist and go out into the world. If our community is even half full of people like Chief Deputy Whitney and all of his peers, you can rest assured that LaGrange and Troup County is the place to be.
Jeremy Andrews Staff Writer