Sheriff Scott Chitwood
Sheriff Chitwood is a life long resident of Whitfield County, having graduated from Dalton High School. Further education includes a Criminal Justice Degree from Dalton State College. Additionally, he is a graduate of the National Sheriff’s Institute (1993) and the F.B.I. National Academy (1994, 178th session).
Beginning in 1980, he moved into the business field as the Division Security Director of West Point Pepperell followed by employment as the Corporate Security Director for Shaw Industries. In 1988 he was recruited by the Whitfield County Sheriff to return to public service as Chief Deputy for the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office. In 1992 he ran for sheriff and came close to defeating three opponents on the first ballot. He did defeat his nearest opponent in a run-off election and began serving his first term as sheriff. In 1996 he ran with opposition and was elected for a second term, he was reelected for a third term, this time without opposition.
Sheriff Chitwood has often been recognized for his outstanding work as a county sheriff. In 1994 he was among six sheriffs from Georgia to be briefed in Washington D.C. by Attorney General Janet Reno on the crime bill about to go before Congress. He returned to Washington that November to witness President Clinton as he signed the bill.In 1996 he was selected by the Democratic Party as the “Public Official of the Year.” In 1997 he was chosen to serve as one of 12 delegates to represent the State of Georgia on a 15-day trip to Israel to study law enforcement techniques and anti-terrorist procedures with the Israel Police.He was asked to participate in the Dalton Whitfield Leadership Class of 2002. Also during this year, he was appointed by the Governor of Georgia to serve on the Sheriff’s Retirement Board. As a final outstanding achievement for 2002, Sheriff Chitwood received the honor of being chosen by the 159 sheriffs of the State of Georgia as the recipient of the prestigious “Sheriff of the Year” award.
Community service has been important to Sheriff Chitwood. He serves on the boards of directors of Cherokee Estates Sheriff Youth Homes, The Green House, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. He has been a Big Brother to his Little Brother for seven years. Professionally, Sheriff Chitwood affiliates with The Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, the National Jail Association, and the Georgia Jail Association.
When elected sheriff in 1992, the county jail was 25 years old with a bed capacity of 124. Through the next ten years, the jail population exploded to over 300 inmates which forced some inmates to be housed six hours away from Whitfield County. Payments for this outside housing exceeded two million dollars during the last few years before the new facility was built. During this time, Sheriff Chitwood guided his department in remaining competent, professional, and service oriented through the settlement of the Whitfield County jail conditions case. The people of Whitfield County voted in a SPLOST through which specific funds were designated for the construction of a new jail facility. The $21 million building was completed in 2003.The staff increased from 130 to over 170 employees.
When Sheriff Chitwood can find time, his hobbies include fishing, playing golf and working out.