Thursday, September 24, 2020 - by Mitch Talley, Whitfield County Director of Communications
Making sure inmates in the Whitfield County Detention Facility are treated fairly is just one of the many tasks filled by Grievance Officer Loretta Walker.
The 17-year veteran of the county’s correctional facility also is involved with the Conasauga Mental Health Court program as a representative of the jail, assists the housing division when needed, and maintains records of incident reports, inmate grievances, and many more documents.
“Loretta is continually hard working, committed, and dependable,” says Captain Wesley Lynch, one of her co-workers who nominated Walker as Whitfield County Employee of the Month for July.
Her job as a grievance officer is very important, he says, by helping management with investigations of inmate behaviors and protecting inmate rights through investigations of inmate complaints.
“She not only assists the agency,” Capt. Lynch says, “but also assists inmates with communication and other services when their own personal limitations make them unable to do so on their own. She approaches each task with a service mentality and strives to always do right by others.”
As a grievance officer, Walker serves as a check and balance of the county’s responsibilities, helping protect the county from civil liability, according to Capt. Lynch.
Through her service on the Mental Health Court committee, Walker is able to use her direct knowledge of jail operations as well as her understanding of particular inmate situations and capabilities to help inform the court and support their mission, Capt. Lynch says.
“She comes in each day ready to take on whatever task comes her way,” says Lt. David Pickett, who also nominated Walker as Employee of the Month.
“Loretta serves as the main point of contact for all inmate complaints and looks into these issues thoroughly and with fairness,” he says. “She relays information to her supervisors and always goes the extra mile to make sure that everything is complete and in order.”
During her career, Walker has served as a detention officer and training officer before assuming her current post.
“She takes pride in her job,” Pickett says. “A crucial part of being the grievance officer is investigating allegations, reviewing incidents, and allowing the inmates to tell their side of the story.”
Capt. Lynch also noted that Walker regularly assists inmates with special needs and helps to ensure that inmates are free from abuse.
"She also finds resources for those that do not have the capability or understanding to help themselves,” Capt. Lynch said. “This may include finding glasses for those who have impaired vision, assisting individuals who do not understand the reporting system kiosk in getting medical care or simply communicating, and helping those that may not be literate in getting help they need.”
To help local residents learn more about her family and personality, Walker took a few minutes to fill out the following fun questionnaire.
Name: Loretta L. Walker
Job title: Detention/Grievance Officer
Time with the county: 17 years
Where I went to high school: LaFayette High
My role as a county employee: Help detention, answer all complaints and issues from inmates, work with Mental Health Court.
What keeps my job interesting: The people I work with, new tasks every day.
What gives me a sense of accomplishment on the job: When I know that I have resolved an issue or assignment given.
The most important thing I’ve done on the job: By being the grievance officer, one important task is to make sure that co-workers and inmates are treated fairly.
Where I grew up: Dalton
Spouse and children: Husband of 31 years, Rodney Walker; children, Angel Allen, Harvey Walker, Jason Walker
After work, I enjoy: Spending time with my family.
Community activities: School sports
Hobbies: Anything outdoors, cooking, gardening
Favorite TV show: Chicago PD
Favorite movie: Dirty Dancing
Favorite actor/actress: Patrick Swayze
Favorite sport/team: Football - Georgia Bulldogs, Go Dawgs! / NASCAR
Favorite meal: Steak and salmon
Favorite singer: Whitesnake
Favorite Whitfield County restaurant: Oakwood Café
Favorite Whitfield County event: Miracle League
You can pick four people to have dinner with (anyone from any time in history) – who are your four people and why? My mother – Beverly Van Dyke, my father – Raymond Manis, my son – Jason Walker, grandparents – Carmie and Lige Manis.
I’m most proud of: My children and granddaughter
Cats or dogs? Dogs
Cake or pie? Cake
Cornbread or roll? Roll
Favorite car? Dodge Hellcat
Host or be hosted? Host – love to cook for family during the holidays.
Early riser or sleep-in? Early riser
Favorite vacation ever? Black Mountain Ranch, Colorado
Best teacher I ever had: All my teachers were great.
Pet peeve: I don’t like to be lied to.
If I’ve learned one thing in life, it’s: Always tell your family you love them. You never know when it’s going to be the last day.
Who has had the most impact on my life? My parents
What’s left on my bucket list? Take a long vacation.
If I could have been in any profession of my choosing, I would have been a: Trauma nurse.
If I could have two wishes, they would be: 1 – To be able to hug my mother and spend time with her, 2 – Travel the world.
You’d be surprised to learn that I: Spend time outdoors riding four-wheelers and horses
The best advice I ever got: To always pay attention and tell the truth.
Anything else you’d like to say: I want to say thank you so much for the honor of being chosen as Employee of the Month. I enjoy my job and all my co-workers!