Wallace Whittaker asks voters to Keep a Working Sheriff
By Jim Turner

Posted on May 7, 2014 8:39 PM

This is the fourth in a series of features on candidates who have advertised on The Logan Journal

In the 28 years since Kentucky voters passed a constitutional amendment to allow sheriffs to succeed themselves, Logan County has elected only two different sheriffs. Wallace Whittaker is hoping Logan Countians will keep that record intact at least four more years.

Whittaker is running for a fourth consecutive term as Logan County sheriff, subject to the May 20 Democratic primary. His predecessor, the late Dannie Blick, had served the prior four terms before retiring from that role. Prior to that, a sheriff could only serve one four-year term. Then he would either have to run for another elected position or take another job. Some of them served more than one term, but it appears Blick has been the only one to serve four terms.

So far.

Whittaker feels he has the experience, the credentials and the public support to continue as sheriff. He is asking voters to “Keep a Working Sheriff.”

His first job in law enforcement began in 1985 as a deputy sheriff in his native Warren County. After three years there, he came to the Land of Logan as a Russellville city policeman. In 1989, he began working under Sheriff Blick and has been with the sheriff’s department ever since. He won contested races in both the Democratic primary and the general election in 2002, but has been unopposed the last two terms. This year he faces two other candidates in the primary election.

The list of areas of training he has accumulated in long and deep. He has taken some 1,400 hours of training, almost a thousand of them from the Department of Criminal Justice. He also has advanced training through some specialized agencies, including the National Transportation Safety Board.

Soon after he became sheriff, the Southcentral Kentucky Drug Task Force was created and he has been involved with its advisory board throughout 10 successful years. His department supplies three officers to the task force. The sheriff’s department also has increased drug programs in the schools and has led efforts to reduce teen fatalities. The School Resource Officer program has also increased its role through his leadership.

Also involving the schools, the department has worked on computer technology to reduce bullying and has been teaching classes on internet fraud.

The Logan County Sheriff’s Department works closely with other agencies, including Homeland Security and the U.S. Marshal’s office. Whittaker has been the spokesman for improving the county’s communication system in trying to facilitate all law enforcement officials to work together.

Whittaker has worked with expanding Neighborhood Watch programs and in expanding attempts to reduce elderly abuse. 

Currently his office has 16 deputies, two of whom are in law enforcement school and one who has just graduated. He says turnover is generally the result of Logan County not offering Hazardous Duty Pay to its deputies, a factor which he keeps hoping will change. The department has an advanced fleet of cars with the newest technology, he acknowledges.

He says his goal for a fourth term is to “continue working for the people who put us in office.” He is grateful that Logan County has received him with open arms ever since his arrival from Warren County. “We have had a tremendous outpouring of thanks and expressions of trust from the public,” he says.

“This is not an easy job, and often we have to deal with tragedy. We’ve laughed, cried and prayed with many people over the years,” he says.

The Whittaker family has experienced tragedy, grief and love from the public this year in a very public way. Wallace was responding to what was first believed to be a fatal wreck in Auburn on Jan. 22 when he learned the victim was his daughter-in-law, Kelly Hargis Whittaker. She didn’t die, but came very close. The public waited daily for news about her condition in the days and weeks that followed.

Kelly is doing much better and is able to be out in public some. She attended a basketball game Tuesday night at which her husband—Russellville Police Officer Seth Whittaker—and her father-in-law, the sheriff, were working. She has a number of physical problems yet to overcome, including facing major surgery June 28, but the entire Whittaker family is grateful to first responder and doctors who attended to her and to the thousands of people who offered prayers on her behalf.

Wallace and Brenda Davenport Whittaker have been married 25. They have two sons—Seth, 25, and Luke, 19, a student at Western Kentucky University who wants to be a state policeman.

They are members of Second Baptist Church in Russellville where Wallace is a deacon and Sunday School director. "I believe in spending time with and for youth," he says.

Wallace Whittaker is a friendly man who loves to talk with anyone who wants to talk with him. He is a lawman who is easily accessible to the public.

Now he hopes the public will vote to Keep a Working Sheriff.

Paid for by Shirley Davenport, Treasurer

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