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Number 1.95, April 2, 2002

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Snellville mayor remembers
former Police Chief J.D. Hewatt

By Emmett Clower
Former Mayor
City of Snellville
Special to GwinnettForum.com

APRIL 2, 2002 -- After I had served as mayor of Snellville for four years, Snellville had gone through two police chiefs. I knew we needed someone to run the department with experience and integrity. We placed advertisements in the newspaper and John D. Hewatt was one of the finalists of three candidates.

We did background checks and JD came back with an excellent rating. (One thing I remember was his credit rating was excellent, never late on any payments. That's a good sign for a policeman.) Soon JD received the Council's vote to hire him, the former chief deputy of DeKalb's Sheriff's Department, as the Snellville chief.

JD had been in charge of 180 personnel at the DeKalb County jail during his time there. He had left the jail over a disagreement with Sheriff Ray Bonner. I understand JD was disgusted with what the sheriff asked him to do, or not do!

If I remember right, J.D. Hewatt came to work with the city on the Fourth of July , 1977. Over the 20 years that he served as the Snellville police chief, he provided great leadership. He was the chief who recommended to the Gwinnett County school superintendent that a police officer, or someone with a police background, be employed by the system at the different schools. Later on, such officers were added to the high schools of Gwinnett.

Over his years, the Department grew to 40 officers, while a new building on Highway 78 was purchased and the Department moved there in 1982. The building previously had served Walton EMC as their office in Snellville.

J.D. is remembered for many innovations, including hiring women into the Department and the Patrol Division. He always looked out for the little man, and he, for sure, was known for his big heart.

Our chief was interested in upgrading the department's technology. A new up-to-date computer system was purchased, and computer units were placed in patrol cars. A new radio system was also instituted, allowing our police units to easily talk with the Gwinnett County Police from car to car.

J.D. also saw the conflict of having the Recorder's Court within the Police Department, and suggested this change, which the council granted. It was made a part of the City Clerk's office, and we were one of the first cities in Gwinnett to do so.

The Snellville chief of police served as president of the Gwinnett County Police Chiefs Association, and president of the Metro, a group of law enforcement officials in the city, county, state and federal work.

J.D. has two children. His son, Carlisle, played four years on the University of Georgia football team, is married, has two daughters, and lives in Cumming. His daughter, Julie, lives in Miami, is studying to become a doctor.

His integrity was one of his greatest assets, and was most important to him. He earned the respect of police officials and government officials throughout the state. He served the city for 20 years, and will be sorely missed.

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EXCITING PLAY. Read about the prize-winning play, "Proof," now being performed at the Alliance Theater downtown. Go to Elliott Brack's new column by clicking here.

PHILHARMONIC'S LAST CONCERT
IS NEXT WEEK

The April 15 and 16 Gwinnett Philharmonic concerts at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center will present selections chosen by previous audiences.

Included in the program will include Tchaikovsky's "1812" Overture, patriotic themes such as God Bless America and Broadway hits including The Sound of Music, Phantom of the Opera and Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" with guest pianist, Gary Menzies. The finale to the famous William Tell Overture will also be heard. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and from the Gwinnett Civic and Cultural Box Office at 770-623-4966 x3 ($10-$25)

GWINNETTIANS HEAD CYSTIC FIBROSIS FUND RAISER

Gwinnett educators are playing prominent roles in the upcoming fundraiser to aid Cystic Fibrosis. The event, the 14th annual "Casino Cuisine," is scheduled for April 12 at the Swissotel in Buckhead.

Honorary co-chairs are Sharon Rigsby, president of Gwinnett Tech, and Dr. Jim Muyskens, CEO of the Gwinnett University Center. Heading the night's event are Sue and Lisle Henderson. She is the provost of Perimeter College in Gwinnett, while Lisle is on the faculty at Gwinnett Tech.

Event goal this year is to raise $90,000. Last year the event raised $85,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The disease affects about 30,000 children and adults in the United States alone.

A genetic disorder, cystic fibrosis produces a thick mucus which inhibits lung function and food digestion. There is no known cure nor control for this deadly disease. However, the median longevity of people with this disorder has increased from five years in 1980 to 32 years today.Details about the function can be obtained at (404) 325-6973

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-- Via Jim Hood from Microsoft, Legal Affairs Division.

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