Years after his retirement, Capt. Chad White continued his police work digging for old photographs and uncovering the history of the Gainesville Police Department.
Traveling as far north as Whitfield County and down to Jenkins County, White tapped into his knack for genealogy to write his three-volume set.
“I wanted the reader to know who these officers were. I wanted the reader to know that the Gainesville Police Department is what it is today because of these people before them. They laid that foundation,” he said.
On Saturday, June 23, White held a signing of the books at the Gainesville Police Department headquarters.
“His extraordinary work will live in history forever, the same as those he has written about. Sometimes, plots reflect our own experiences, guide us through the future or have us seeing our memories through a new set of eyes; that is exactly what this book has done. The Gainesville Police Departments greatest glory is found in volumes 1-3 of Captain White’s book,” Chief Carol Martin said in a statement.
The project began seven years ago when the department was set to install three large trophy cases at police headquarters.
After putting out a request for items from officers and their descendants, White received a multitude of photos and even a former chief’s baton.
During his search for information on former Chief Alexander G. Carter, the retired captain landed in Jenkins County and couldn’t find a headstone. He did know, however, that the former chief had married a young woman who attended Brenau University.
“I started marking off where a grave may be, started trying to rub my foot across the ground and stuff and was fortunate to find his grave,” White said.
White cleaned up the former chief’s grave, something he considered a great find for the book.
Another former chief, Thomas Hanie, became a railroad detective and was involved in the capture of the famous train robber Bill Miner, also known as the Grey Fox, in the early 1900s.
With his wife Rhonda as his editor, White followed the history of these men through newspaper articles and other research. He also discovered a long relationship between the city’s police department and the Atlanta Police.
One story illustrating that connection was a former Atlanta Police Department chief giving $200 to the Gainesville chief so they could buy badges for all the officers.
The Whites self-published a first run of 330 copies, which are now sold out. They have some people on a waiting list and are gauging the interest on a second run. The original price for the three volumes was $80.
“My wife Rhonda and I will have to decide about second printing, but it’s been overwhelming the number of people that’s wanting a copy of the book,” White said.