It didn’t take long for Todd White’s emergency services career to begin after his June 2000 high school graduation. Seven months later he was a 911 dispatcher for Cherokee County, Georgia.
In the ensuing 22 years he’s seen and done a lot, in a few different places. Now 42, on Nov. 27, 2022, he became a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper working out of the THP’s District 1 headquarters. His patrol territory includes Campbell, Anderson and Scott counties, along with state roads and approximately 44 miles of I-75 each way from mile marker 117 to the Kentucky state line.
His training and experiences have shaped him into who he is today. Capt. Stacey Heatherly, who leads the vast 11-county District 1 THP, shared her thoughts on this trooper: “…. Trooper White is such a positive person … period. I always enjoy being around him while I watch his passion for his job and those he serves.”
This big man with a big smile under his THP campaign hat can fool you. When he steps out of his THP vehicle you can’t miss him – 6-2, 300 pounds – and he’s fit as a fiddle. As they put it within the walls of the THP – he’s a squared-away trooper.
Trooper White’s experience:
- Five years – Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, jail and patrol.
- Six years – Holly Springs, Georgia, Police Department, detective and instructor.
- Less than a year – Canton, Georgia, Police Department, DUI Unit.
- Six months – May 2013, Knox County Schools division police officer
- Two years – Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, school resource, Talbott Elementary School.
- Seven years – White Pine Police Department, patrol, public relations, grants.
Then in November 2022 he joined the THP and graduated from the THP Training Academy in March 2023.
In 2013 he and his wife, Kimberly, decided to leave the Atlanta area and move to her hometown of White Pine, in Jefferson County, Tennessee. “Best decision we’ve ever made,” he said. “We love it here, all of us. The part of Georgia where we lived is no place to raise kids anymore. Way too much crime. It’s growing and the crime is getting a lot worse.”
Kimberly is the victim’s legal advocate for domestic violence victims and child abuse victims for Safe Space in Jefferson and Cocke counties and she stays busy, he says. They met 18 years ago when both were deputies for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office. They have three children, ages 16, 14 and 10. “Something funny and odd about (the kids). They’re all redheads and we can’t find a redheaded gene in either of our families,” he said.
A pair of dissimilar experiences led him into law enforcement.
First, his family. “I’m about the only male from my family who has never been in prison and I decided growing up around all of that that I was not going to be like that ever,” he said.
Next, as a 15-year-old Eagle Scout on his way to school, he came upon a serious two-car, head-on accident. “I wanted to help, being an Eagle Scout and all, so I jumped out of the car and ran to the cars. A little old lady was trapped in one car and she was hurt and I realized I didn’t have the skills or anything to help her. I decided then that I wanted to be in public safety to learn what had to be done.”
In the years leading up to the THP position, he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and then a master’s degree in public administration, both from South College. In addition to his patrol work, he’s also a member of the District 1 “Strike Team” that responds to major events. “We’re the first to go and the last to leave,” he says.
White had his share of job-related injuries prior to joining THP. He was fighting with a woman who lived in a trailer park in Holly Springs, Georgia. She had an AK47. During the tussle a large stereo cabinet fell on his left knee and tore his MCL. He was struck by a car while directing traffic and thrown into the windshield. His lower back still talks about it today, he said.
Law enforcement/first responders put their lives on the line daily and never know when it will happen or the circumstances. While working in Cherokee County, near his hometown of Canton, Georgia, there was a serious boating accident on Lake Altoona. A speedboat hit another boat and cut it in half. White was first on the scene. He swam to the wreckage and inside found a man dead and a woman still alive. He brought her to shore and she survived. He received a Georgia Governor’s Commendation and a Citation for Bravery.
Has White had a strange call here? As a matter of fact, he says … “Two weeks or so ago on a Tuesday night, around 1 a.m., my partner on our shift, Tanner Boshears, was driving on Highway 297 that parallels I-75. He got a call that a driver had hit a buffalo that was in the middle of the road and killed it. I didn’t even know we had buffalo around here. That’s pretty unusual.”
No doubt, but there is a 300-acre farm in LaFollette that raises buffalo – BS Farms.
And that feeds into his reasons for loving his job. “It’s big time different being a trooper. I really enjoy the people I work with, and I can’t say enough about them. The THP is special. But every day is different … school checks one day, seeing and talking with the parents and kids, maybe a driver’s license checkpoint or a sobriety checkpoint tomorrow and the traffic stops and personal interactions with the public. It’s wonderful working and living here.”
Tom King has been the editor of newspapers in Texas and California and also worked in Tennessee and Georgia. If you have someone you think we should consider featuring, please email him at the link with his name or text him at 865-659-3562.