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

Newnans Lake, shown here near 7400 E. University Ave., in Gainesville, Fla.

Alachua County Receives Florida’s 36th State Forest

The 1,000-plus acres of diverse land west of Newnans Lake in Gainesville will provide bicycle and hiking trails for the public in spring 2015.


The Rerun team prepares 233 shoes to ship to Native American reservations in South Dakota later in December.

Old Shoes Find New Life Thanks to Oak Hall

“We started off as a drop off spot where people could bring old shoes when they bought a new pair, or bring back a defective pair,” Carillo said. “It grew more and more through word of mouth, and now people know to bring their shoes to us.”


A Bread of the Mighty Food Bank employee stocks the warehouse shelves with dry food donated by a local grocery.

Florida Food Banks Suffer As State Grant Runs Out

As the number of food insecure households rise, local food banks see a rapid decline in food supply from Florida’s government grant program.


Students and community members line up outside Gate 1 of the O’Connell Center.

GALLERY: Protest Held At O’Connell In Response to Police Actions

Demonstrators from the University of Florida Dream Defenders and UF Students for a Democratic Society protested for two hours outside of the O’Connell Center on Friday in response to the police actions in Ferguson and New York that lead to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.


Emergency personnel work after the fatal crash on Friday night.

Gainesville Mayor In Twitter Debate Over Northwest 8th Avenue

Gainesville Mayor Ed Braddy entered a heated debate over Northwest 8th Avenue with unhappy community members on Twitter.


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