To acquaint readers with their Sheriff’s Office I have written about our deputies and cited contributions they make to our team and community.
This week I want to tell of our chief deputy, Wayne Bird. Wayne and his wife, Colleen, both do volunteer work at Cross Point Church (formerly Mount Olive East). Wayne helps prepare and serve food each week in the church’s “Loaves and Fishes” program that feeds about 150 people each week. Colleen, who is a registered nurse, volunteers each week at the church’s free medical clinic. Wayne and Colleen have a daughter, two sons and seven grandchildren.
Bird received his bachelor’s degree from Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., (the alma mater of “Mister Rogers” of children’s TV fame). He received his master’s degree here in Cleveland at Lee’s seminary, while serving as a dorm supervisor. He is a graduate of the FBI Academy at Quantico, Va. He also graduated from the Command School at Louisville, Ky., the Command and Anti-terrorism School at Fort Gordon, Ga., and the Command and Organized Crime School at Dade County, Fla.
I won’t list more, because the list is too extensive.
Wayne has served in almost every capacity in county law enforcement work. He worked his way up from a motorcycle patrolman to assistant patrol commander in one of the largest sheriff’s offices in the country. He, also, served there as the chief of detectives and later as the director of the Metro Drug Enforcement Group.
Before coming home to Cleveland, Bird was on an undercover assignment that involved several state, federal and local agencies. A number of people were indicted, while some are still under investigation. Then, around 20 years ago, Sheriff Dan Gilley commissioned Bird to work undercover here in Bradley County. He developed information to get the search warrant that resulted in finding and unearthing the bodies of Marie Ogle and her son, Dale. Her husband was convicted of their murders and is serving a life sentence in the Tennessee prison system today.
Bird has a reputation of being a straight shooter and a man of integrity. Those who have worked with him will tell you he is competent and hard-working. He is respected by his friends and even some he has put in jail, for his trustworthiness. His reputation, experience and education are why I chose him to be on my team to serve the citizens of this community. As the chief deputy these past two years he continues to earn respect from his peers.
As the chief, he is the one I depend on to oversee all operations, to carry out policy and to help keep me informed on any matters of importance. He can be tough, but he lives out the Christian compassion that he learned from his preacher dad and his kindly mother. Like me, he is not one to talk a lot, but doesn’t hesitant to say what needs to be said. He will probably feel a little uncomfortable when he reads how I have described him. But, I believe it is good for law enforcement for residents to see they have quality people serving them.
Most of your Bradley County deputies are involved with our community in some way. Some are involved in children’s sporting events, while others have positions in the church or civic clubs. We even have some talented singers and musicians. I am always pleasantly surprised when I discover one of our deputies has a particular gift or talent and is civic minded enough to share it with our community.
We are public servants, even when a deputy is writing a speeding ticket or arresting a bad guy. In the coming months, I will introduce you to other deputies in this column.
Thanks for reading.