Hamilton County Deputy Jessica White Receives First Responder Hero of the Month Award


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office has a program for sex offenders rejoining society after serving their time.

It’s not an easy job, but our First Responder of the month does it well, and she also finds time to mentor young girls.

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Her name is Deputy Jessica White.

“I’m just here to let sex offenders know that..I mean..you’re here and I’m here to give them jobs, I’m here to give them housing, I’m here to get them whatever they need to get back into the community,” said Dept. Jessica White, with Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputy Jessica White says she i able to do the job she loves because she cares about the people she works daily to help.

“Yes, it’s fulfilling to see them off the streets , not being homeless, to see them going to work,” said Dept. White.

But that’s just part of her daily life. She’s a very special kind of community mentor.

“I don’t like to get recognized , I don’t like recognition…I like going out..because I like mentoring little girls because that’s the way I got where I’m at today …by somebody mentoring me and pushing me and making sure that I was out there…not..cause I grew up in the city in Chattanooga…went to Howard High school..rough but I made it,” said Dept. White.

Jessica won the Ralph Cawthran Award for service to the community in 2017. Her co-workers know how Jessica…who’s a single mother of two…spends most of her off-duty time.

“Deputy White represents this department well..she’s everything when you get it right. I’m happy about this award for her ..it speaks a lot about her as an individual..outside the parameters of law enforcement..giving back to the community,” said Capt. Van Hinton, Supervisor at the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

And the friend who nominated her for our First Responder award knows what she does daily.

“They can all her for anything and she’s there for like graduations, some of them may want to quit school because of their living circumstances ..and she’s encouraging them to be there..she helps them financially..she doesn’t have to do that but she does it. It show what kind of heart she has..she has a big heart,” said Shawntae Caldwell.

“Oh, it’s a feeling..it warms my heart…it makes my day,” said Deputy White.

Congratulations to Deputy Jessica White…Our first Responder of the month.

“At Wettermark Keith we are so proud of this month’s 1st responder winner. But we are also proud of the hundreds of other 1st responders who are out there working every day and every night to protect us and our families,” said James Wettermark.

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Ashley is a lifetime Chattanooga area resident, and a 1987 graduate from UTC, with a BA in communications. While there, he was commissioned through the ROTC program, served simultaneously in the 1/181st field artillery Tn. Army National Guard, finished Airborne school, was a member of the Scabbard and Blade military honor society and ROTC Rangers, the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, played snare drum with the UTC Marching band, and played in a southern rock band called Southern Atmosphere, while working a full time job as a trainer at the Sports Barn. He also won the Southeastern United States teenage bodybuilding competition during this time. Ashley has been with News 12 Now for 21 years. Prior to working here he was a videographer, director, producer and editor at Falcon Cable TV in Dalton, Ga. for 6 years where he produced thousands of commercials and dozens of hour long features. He also worked as a freelancer and employee at another network affiliate in Chattanooga. He has operated a part time video production business from home for 25 years. He says his passion is telling stories that feature people who give of themselves to help others, and stories that inspire people to make positive changes in themselves and their communities. Ashley is ecstatically married to Debbie Henderson, and has two step sons, a daughter in law, a sister, and lots of aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews. His parents are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year. Ashley and Debbie are active members of Brainerd Baptist Church. His interests include weight training and cycling with his wife, photography, poetry, playing drums, and checking off items from his extensive honey-do list. If you would like to reach Ashley, email him at ahenderson@wdef.com.