Monday, May 17, 2021 - by Mitch Talley, Whitfield County Director of Communications
On his first day of retirement, Deputy Wayne Saylors didn’t go golfing or fishing.
No, after 35 years of service at the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office, Dep. Saylors jumped right into one of the two part-time jobs he’s already lined up.
“My first day of retirement, I already had a yard lined up in Chatsworth,” he said, referring to the landscaping business he’s opening. “One of my co-workers needed his yard done, so I went over and took care of that for him.”
When he’s not busy making local lawns more beautiful, the 57-year-old Dep. Saylors also plans to drive a box truck for Georgia Carpet three days a week.
“I’m gonna be a busy retiree,” he admits, flashing his trademark smile.
As his long career in law enforcement finally came to a close on May 5, a diverse crowd that included judges, lawyers, courthouse workers, law enforcement officers, family members, friends and even some of his fellow worshippers at Salem Baptist Church, turned out May 7 to say thanks for a job well done during a retirement party in the second floor atrium of the Whitfield County Courthouse.
Long-time Sheriff Scott Chitwood - whose days of working with Dep. Saylors date back to when both men were working for previous Sheriff W.G. Tallent - praised Dep. Saylors for his decades of dedicated service, presenting him with the traditional retired ID card, retired badge (number 85) and duty weapon.
Sheriff Chitwood believes his 28 years as sheriff are the result of “the good employees” that have worked for him. “I’ve always said publicly at civic clubs and other places that I would not be where I am if it wasn’t for people like Wayne Saylors and those others (officers) that are here right now, so I owe them a great deal.”
The sheriff pointed out that with Dep. Saylors’ retirement, only six of the original 14 employees at the Sheriff’s Office when Sheriff Chitwood took office in 1992 are still on the job.
Dep. Saylors entered law enforcement in 1986 after being “recruited” by his long-time friend, Lt. Wayne Mathis, who himself just retired in December after 40 years in law enforcement, including 35 years with Whitfield County.
“Wayne asked me if I might want to come work at the sheriff’s office, and I said, 'Sure',” Dep. Saylors recalled, noting that he first had to attend mandate class three days a week to earn his certification, and then begin working in booking at the jail.
Other stops during his career include Patrol, Drug Unit, General Investigations, DARE program, and Court Services for the last eight years.
“I guess my favorite job would have to be the narcotics unit,” Dep. Saylors said. “We just had a good working relationship with the City of Dalton’s drug unit. We worked together the entire five years that I was there; both drug units worked close knit. If they had search warrants to do, we helped them, and if we had search warrants to do, they always helped us. It just helped us all do our jobs better.”
While admitting he was nervous making a speech, Dep. Saylors took a few minutes during his party to reflect on the many good people he’s worked with over the years.
“I especially want to thank Sheriff Chitwood and Major (John) Gibson and Whitfield County as a whole for this opportunity that I’ve had the past 35 years,” Dep. Saylors said.
His last eight years in Court Services have also been a blessing, Dep. Saylors said, because “I got to see how our entire court system works from start to finish. We’re lucky to have the judges and all the teams that work in our judicial circuit here in Whitfield and Murray county because we’ve just got tremendous judges that have a selfless desire to do what’s right on the bench for every case that comes up. What a privilege and experience that has been for me, but most of all, I just thank y’all for coming here today.”
Now, Dep. Saylors turns his attention to his new part-time jobs and more time with his family, including his wife of 39 years, Kimberly; daughter, Hannah (who was just six months old when he started working for the sheriff’s office), and four-year-old granddaughter, Abrie.
“I’m gonna miss it,” he says of his law enforcement career. “I mean, you do this for this long. You don’t do it for the wonderful pay, but it’s the love of the job and the camaraderie with co-workers and just the experience of getting to be a part of it.”