For more than 12 years, Scott Whittle has served as an investigator with the Thomson Police Department, but he soon will be stepping down to return to the road patrol as a supervisor.
When new Police Chief Joseph D. Nelson arrived, Lt. Whittle said he informed him that he wanted to step down as the department's lone investigator simply because he was burned out.
"This decision was purely mine," said Lt. Whittle during an interview with The McDuffie Mirror on Monday afternoon. "As an investigator, I'm just burn-out. It has nothing to do with me being demoted or anything like that."
Chief Nelson has decided to utilize him as a supervisor on one of the two night shift road patrols. His rank would be that of a sergeant.
"I appreciate Scott coming to me and telling me this," said Chief Nelson. "A lot of officers would have just kept this to themselves, but he came right out and leveled with me about being burn-out. I have a lot of respect for him having done it the way he did it. He has been an asset to this police department and I'm sure he will continue to be in his new road patrol supervisory position."
Although a new investigator already has been hired, Jamie Bridges, to replace Lt. Whittle, it still hasn't been decided exactly when he will make the switch to the road patrol.
"I expect it will be soon, now that Jamie has joined the department," said Lt. Whittle, who will celebrate his 18th year later this year with the Thomson Police Department. "I'm looking forward to the new challenges and opportunities that await me on the road patrol. It's where I got my start."
Since becoming an investigator nearly 13 years ago, Lt. Whittle said he had missed seeing his children grow up and do things with them like he always had imagined.
"This job has taken me away a lot from being Daddy to my children," said Lt. Whittle. "I've missed out on a lot of things with them being an investigator, because it's a 24-hour, seven day a week job. I realize I can't play catch-up from the things I've missed as their Daddy, but I can still enjoy some of the years they have left as children."
Lt. Whittle said the job of investigator "has been so stressful" on him. "It's also physically bothered me. I've literally taken this job home with me ever since I've had it. It's a job that stays with you day and night. When it's time to sleep, you can't because you remember something you didn't do that day at work -- even if it's just returning a phone call."
During his years as an investigator, Lt. Whittle has been awakened in the middle of the night countless times, because of such crimes as shootings, stabbings, armed robberies, burglaries, etc.
"I simply decided I wanted to have more of a personal life and more time with my children," said Lt. Whittle, noting he is tired of being a police officer. "I'm still as dedicated as I've ever been when it comes to serving and protecting as a police officer. I just don't want to be an investigator anymore, because of the long hours and the amount of stress involved."
As a road patrol sergeant, Lt. Whittle will work certain hours unless otherwise dictated by unforeseen circumstances, such as a manhunt, etc.
"I'll have more time to be with my children and I'm going to like that a lot," said Lt. Whittle, the son of Jerry Whittle and Brenda Hale, both of Fort Payne, Alabama.
Lt. Whittle, who often has been seen with two cell phones in both ears and his office telephone ringing, too, described himself as "a player on the team of the police department. I'm willing to do whatever I can do to help the department and this community."
The 41-year-old cop is known for his kindness and generosity in doing special things for people in need such as cookouts to help raise money for worthy causes, or for someone who lost their home and possessions to fire, etc.
"None of us know when something might happen to us and we need the help of others," said Lt. Whittle. "It could be me or you the next time."
In closing, Lt. Whittle said he has tried to be as dedicated as he knows how to be.
"It's all about helping one another," he said.