Written by Keith Blackmar, Public Information Officer, WCSO Monday, 13 December 2010 12:31
Wakulla County Sheriff David Harvey presented Wakulla Historical Society President Cathy Frank with Chief Jailer Robert E. (R.E.) Whaley’s service weapon on Wednesday, Dec. 8.
The Wakulla Historical Society is planning to use the service weapon and the photograph as part of an exhibit at the Historical Society Museum. The museum is located in one of the old jails where R.E. Whaley and his wife Dean worked.
The new display will be open to the public during the Second Annual Christmas Open House Tuesday, Dec. 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. It will become a permanent display. The theme of the event will be “Treasuring our Heritage” and the display will be contained in the R.E. and Dean Whaley Room.
Sheriff Harvey presented a program on the history of the Wakulla County Jail to the Historical Society on Tuesday, Oct. 12 and presented Cathy Frank with former Chief Jailer Robert Edward (R.E.) Whaley’s service weapon. The sheriff had received the weapon as a gift early in his law enforcement career.
Sheriff Emmett C. Ferrell, Sr. and Sheriff Bill Taff operated the jail at the facility that is now home of the Wakulla County Historical Society. The facility was built in 1950 and closed in 1971.
The 18 bed brick building used by Sheriff Taff and Sheriff Harvey replaced the facility in which R.E. Whaley worked, was opened in 1972 and held inmates until 1990. The building is now home to the tax collector’s office and the county commission chambers.
Robert Edward (R.E.) Whaley served as a deputy and chief jailer at the Ferrell/Taff jail and his wife Geraldine “Miss Dean” Whaley served as the matron at the jail and monitored the radio while also cooking for the prisoners.
“Jailers or detention deputies are courageous public safety officers and often forgotten heroes,” said the sheriff. “Detention is an important component of the criminal justice system. The greatest crime prevention ever invented by man is the county jail.”
“The cool part about this (donation) is R.E. Whaley and his wife Dean worked in the same building when it was the old jail and we see as it (gun) as it’s coming home,” said Cathy Frank. “We were so honored and shocked that Sheriff Harvey would be willing to donate the gun.”
The sheriff added that he was pleased to be able to donate the service weapon to the Historical Society as a way to preserve an important part of Wakulla County’s past.
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