Georgia Department of Corrections
Brian Owens, Commissioner
Director of Public Affairs
Contact: Office of Public Affairs (478) 992-5248
STATE OF GEORGIA
For Immediate Release
Forsyth - The Department of Corrections awarded K-9 Correctional Officer Heath Whited with the James Henderson Memorial Award at the Seventh Annual GDC Awards ceremony on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at the State Offices South at Tift College in Forsyth.
"Officer Whited has exemplified the importance of training and safety," said Commissioner Brian Owens. "He without question deserves this honor," added Commissioner Owens.
The James Henderson Award was created to honor the memory of Correctional Officer James Henderson of Georgia State Prison for placing service above self and extraordinary bravery beyond the call of duty. Officer Henderson died on June 3, 2002 of injuries sustained in the line of duty. He was a valued officer at Georgia State Prison from 1994 –2002. Henderson was an Army veteran who served in Korea, Germany and the United States.
On July 29, 2010, Officer Whited tracked and assisted with the apprehension of a murder suspect without regard for his own safety. Officer Whited displayed bravery and exhibited that continuous training and field experience can prepare any employee to fulfill the department's commitment to public safety.
Officer Whited began his career with the department in 1990 as a Correctional Officer. In 1993, he worked as a Back-up K-9 Correctional Officer. In 1997, he was promoted to an official K-9 Correctional Officer and is still serving in this position at Hays State Prison.
Several key officials were on hand for the ceremony, which was attended by 200 guests. Assisting the presentation of awards with Commissioner Brian Owens were Assistant Corrections Commissioner Fredrick Head, Human Resource Director Patricia Smith, State Representative Jay Neal, Board of Corrections Chairman Jim Whitehead, Sr. and special guest speaker, State Personnel Administration Commissioner Joe Doyle.
The Department of Corrections is the fifth largest prison system in the United States and is responsible for supervising nearly 60,000 state prisoners and over 150,000 probationers. It is the largest law enforcement agency in the state with approximately 13,000 employees.