Co-Workers Gather At New Sign Memorializing Fallen Whitfield County Deputy Durwin Potts
Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - by Mitch Talley
Sheriff Scott Chitwood and Rep. Bruce Broadrick stand in front of a sign memorializing Deputy Durwin Potts, who died from injuries suffered while answering a call on Cleveland Highway in 1996. Surrounding them are two county commissioners and some of the 15 remaining officers who served with Deputy Potts and are still working for the sheriff’s office, including (from left) Commissioner Greg Jones, Capt. Steven Fields, Deputy Jeff Shields, Capt. Charles Bunch, Lt. Paul Woods, Sgt. Tammy Silvers, Commissioner Harold Brooker, Capt. Rick Swiney, and Sgt. Scott McAllister.
- photo by Mitch Talley
Nearly 22 years after his death while answering a call on Cleveland Highway, Whitfield County Deputy Durwin Potts is still close to the hearts of the officers who served with him.
Monday afternoon, several of the 15 officers from that time still working at the sheriff’s office were among those who gathered for a ceremony near one of the signs memorializing the fallen deputy on the state highway.
Two “Deputy Durwin Potts Memorial Intersection” signs have been placed facing north and south, one near the Mapco convenience store and the other near the Waffle House.
“We are honored to remember Deputy Potts, who may have been the first county law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty – certainly the first to pass away during my tenure,” Sheriff Scott Chitwood said.
The signs, put up by the state Department of Transportation, came as the result of a resolution introduced by Rep.
Bruce Broadrick, R-Dalton, to dedicate the intersection of Cleveland Highway and Waring Road in the deputy’s memory. Former Rep. Roger Williams, who represents Whitfield County on the state transportation board, also supported the resolution.
The process took more than a year as the transportation committees in both chambers and the House and the Senate had to pass the resolution.
Mr. Potts was headed south on Cleveland Highway in December 1995, responding as a backup to another officer with his blue lights and siren on, when he had to dodge a northbound vehicle that turned left in front of him onto Waring Road. The deputy swerved, hit the median, and flipped his car several times.
“When he flipped the car, Durwin had his window down and his head hit the pavement, but he was up walking around and talking to everyone afterwards so we thought he was going to be fine,” recalled Chitwood, who was at a conference in Atlanta when the accident occurred.
Mr. Potts was admitted to the hospital for precautionary observation, and a few hours later, he began to suffer from bleeding on the brain, succumbing to his injuries about 24 hours later on Dec. 21.
The sheriff said Mr. Potts has previously been honored at the Law Enforcement Memorial in Forsyth and his name is also on the memorial wall in Washington, D.C.
Deputy Durwin Potts stands next to his patrol car