Hundreds of law enforcement officers converged on the tiny town of Ludowici Saturday morning to pay their respects to Long County Sheriff's Office Deputy Sheldon Whiteman, who was killed Jan. 23 while attempting to join a vehicle chase.
Highway 57, which runs through Ludowici, was a sea of blue flashing lights for miles, as law enforcement vehicles made their way to Long County High School where the funeral service for Whiteman was held.
The police cars went beneath fire engine ladders and a large U.S. flag.
Shortly afterwards, Whiteman’s family passed beneath the flag escorted by law enforcement officers. A few minutes later the sound of a solitary bagpipe player was heard followed by the clomping of four black horses and a flag draped casket.
Slowly the horses made their way under blown by a cold chilly wind under gray skies.
As the horses reached their destination in front of the Long County High School gym the crowd stood silent. One of Whiteman’s children who began to say loudly, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy,” in between sobs of grief.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who attended the funeral, stood quietly in the crowd as Whiteman’s casket passed by him. It was carried into the gymnasium by law enforcement pallbearers who executed military type commands as they carried their fallen comrade.
Local media was not allowed inside the gymnasium during the hour and a half service.
Once the service was completed the crowd gathered outside to render their final honors to Whiteman. His family was escorted to chairs and watched as the honor guard removed the flag which draped his casket and folded it into a triangle to be presented to his wife Alisa Whiteman by Long County Sheriff Craig Nobles as her three sons Aron, Arion and Shiloh watched.
Alisa Whiteman softly placed the flag to her face and cried into it as she held it tightly.
A gun salute was rendered by members of an honor guard, and a lone bugler played the mournful sounds of taps as many in the crowd wept openly to include veteran police officers.
Alisa Whiteman began to cry out in great sobs as the end of watch announcement was broadcast over a police radio system thanking Deputy Whiteman for his service and sacrifice.
Deputy Whiteman will be cremated.