WUFT News

New Union County Sheriff Sworn In, Praises Father

By and on January 18th, 2014

Among the people gathered at Brad E. Whitehead’s swearing-in ceremony, the one face Union County’s newest sheriff wanted to see wasn’t there.

It was the face of his predecessor: his father.

Brad E. Whitehead

Brad E. Whitehead

“As a kid, I grew up watching my father as the sheriff of Union County. He was my hero,” Whitehead said. “It was always a lifelong goal to follow in his footsteps.”

Whitehead’s Friday swearing-in at the county courthouse, at Northwest 1st St. and Northwest 1st Ave. in Lake Butler, came two days after Gov. Rick Scott appointed him to finish his father’s term, which ends in November.

Whitehead, 37, is the third in his family to hold the office, after his father and his grandfather, John H. Whitehead, according to the Gainesville Sun.

He was previously the Florida Department of Corrections’ assistant warden and a detective in the state fire marshal’s Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, according to the sheriff’s office’s website.

Union County residents expressed remorse for the elder Whitehead.

“He was a sweet kind man. He could be stern when he needed to be,” said Lake Butler resident Catherine Filer. “He has always been a very good person.” 

jerry whitehead union county sheriff

Lauren Crawford / WUFT News

Jerry Whitehead, Union County sheriff, answers questions at a press conference in Lake Butler.

Jerry Whitehead’s nearly 30 years as sheriff ended in December when he died from cardiac arrest at 60. Major Garry Seay served as interim sheriff until Brad Whitehead’s appointment, according to the sheriff’s office’s website.

The elder Whitehead headed the office during one of the county’s most recent tragedies. In August, a longtime employee of the Pritchett Trucking Company killed himself after fatally shooting three others in an incident that made national headlines.

“Learning how to grieve is just something you have to go through. It can’t be taught,” Jerry Whitehead said at the time.

“My father told me many, many years ago that in these situations you have to get up, put your boots on, tie them real tight and go to work.”

For son Brad Whitehead, achieving his dream job came bittersweet.

“It’s truly an honor,” Whitehead said. “It’s a humbling experience.”


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

Construction On Main Street Causes Inconvenience

The S Main Street northbound lane closed on Nov. 10 for construction at its intersection with Depot Avenue. The construction proved to be an inconvenience for motorists, business owners and residents alike.


Parents of Gainesville High School students line up at Planet Fitness to pick up their students after a bomb threat. Students and staff were evacuated from GHS after a threat was called in around noon.

Gainesville High School Receives Two Additional, Identical Bomb Threats

Gainesville High School received a bomb threat and subsequently evacuated all students and staff to a nearby Planet Fitness parking lot on Wednesday. GHS received two additional, identical threats Thursday morning, but the school has not been evacuated.


Commodore Mullet and his dog Missy share a sleeping bag to keep warm. Temperatures reached 20 degrees below average.

Alachua County Homeless Seek Relief From Cold

Homeless individuals in Alachua County find ways to cope with the cold weather. Some choose to sleep inside at shelters like Grace Marketplace, while others prefer to stay outside with their possessions, rely on friendship to stay warm.


Victoria Warfel, shows dog owner, Beverly Gilbertson, techniques on how to relax her dog Peedee, before releasing him from his kennel.

Finding Your Dog’s Zen

Peedee Gilbertson had a knack for launching off the ground and jumping onto beds, and the hyperactive terrier-mix’s owners were running out of answers on just how to keep up with him. “We’ve had him in classes before to no [...]


The fountain in the garden of the Historic Thomas Center is in need of repair. The Center has applied for a $75,000-grant to make the necessary improvements.

Thomas Center Applies For Grant To Restore Historic Fountain

Because of years of deterioration, the Thomas Center has applied for a $75,000-grant from the Division of Historical Resources Bureau of Historic Preservation to restore a fountain some say dates back to 1928. The Thomas Center had to match 25 percent of the requested funds in its own budget to be considered eligible by the Florida Department of State.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments