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Hall County deputy rocks out for Sheriff’s Office Show and Shine
Event set for Aug. 19
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Rafael Santiago plays drums with the band Process of Elimination.

When Rafael Santiago was in about the eighth grade, he was constantly tapping chopsticks on the dinner table and pencils on his textbooks. The logical solution for his family: get the boy a drum set.

A blue Ludwig kit with a sparkle finish, the drums would be the onset of more than 30 years of music for Santiago, who also discovered his career aspiration around the same time.

“Even in high school, I wanted to be a cop. But first my parents talked me out of it: ‘Oh, that’s dangerous. You don’t want to do that’,” Santiago said.

After almost being mugged in Puerto Rico — a life-or-death experience — during his college years, Santiago decided it was his true calling.

“When I finished college, I had a couple of odd jobs, and I wasn’t happy,” he said. Now he is a Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputy. 

Santiago and his band Process of Elimination will play Saturday’s Show and Shine at the Sheriff’s Office’s headquarters on Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville.

Hall County Sheriff’s Office Show and Shine

When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, with ballots turned in at 1 p.m.

Where: Hall County Sheriff’s Office headquarters, 2859 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville

How much: Free admission, $25 to register vehicle

“We came up with that name trying to see what musicians we know and who we wanted to ask,” Santiago said.

Santiago and lead guitar player Kon Maheras have played together for three decades, but the band came together in the past five years.

The band also features lead singer Sean Chancy, bass guitarist Mike Becker and rhythm guitarist Mark Wilson.

Santiago is a nine-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, having spent the earlier part of his career with the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office.

The deputy drummer clocked his hours as an investigator and a member of the SWAT team, but that lifestyle doesn’t jibe with a new baby at home.

“I needed something different that will keep me at home on the weekends for her and at night,” he said. “With my oldest daughter, I was out of her life for years because I worked nights, and I didn’t want to do that with my new baby.”

The Monday-Friday schedule allowed Santiago to be with his family, and left weekends open for practice. He spent Saturday rehearsing with another one of his band’s, Scarlett, and Sunday with Process of Elimination for this weekend’s show.

“People like to call dad garage bands — we don’t want to be that. We like to see it as totally new. But the bottom line — it’s rock and roll,” Santiago said.

Santiago’s musical influences include Michael Shrieve of Santana and Steve Smith from Journey. Process of Elimination plays a handful of originals mixed in with covers.

“We don’t do your standard cover that all the bands out there do,” Santiago said, mentioning the group’s up-tempo rock version of EMF’s “Unbelievable.” 

Show & Shine
Sgt. Rick Pople looks at older model cars during last year’s Hall County Sheriff’s Office Show and Shine car, truck and motorcycle show. - photo by The Times

The show and shine is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at 2859 Browns Bridge Road, and all proceeds benefit the agency’s Christmas bicycle program.

In addition to live music, the event will have a rollover crash simulator from the Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute, door prizes, bounce houses, concessions and trophies.

Trophies are given in the following categories.

  • Best Mopar 
  • Best Chevy 
  • Best Ford 
  • Best 4X4 
  • Best Import 
  • Best Classic 
  • Best Truck 
  • Best Rat Rod 
  • Best Custom 
  • Best Exotic 
  • Best Low Rider 
  • Best Special Purpose (military vehicle, amphibian car, etc.) 
  • Best Classic Motorcycle 
  • Best Custom Motorcycle
  • Sheriff’s Choice
  • Best Overall
Regional events