Editorâ€™s note: The following is the first of a six-part series.
COLUMBIA CITY â€” A father, a husband and the cheif deputy of the Whitley County Sheriffâ€™s Department. Marcus Gatton, 41, has more than one duty â€” heâ€™s the second in command to the sheriff, a youth league baseball coach in the summer for his two sons, and a lifepartner to his wife of 16 years.
â€śWeâ€™ve always had a strong family,â€ť Kay Gatton, Marcâ€™s wife, said.
For the sheriffâ€™s department, Gatton has command duties such as reviewing reports, scheduling deputies, employee evaluations, public relations and supervisor over the jail commander. He also has a role outside of the office, filling holes in the schedule and responding to major incidents, such as this monthâ€™s shooting in Larwill.
â€śYou just donâ€™t know whatâ€™s going to happen each day,â€ť Gatton said. â€śI might have to leave at anytime.â€ť
Thatâ€™s something his wife and sons have gotten used to over the years.
Gatton has missed birthdays, holidays, choir concerts and school performances as heâ€™s worked to balance his duties as a family man and servant to the community.
â€śThe boys know heâ€™d be there if he could be,â€ť Kay said. â€śThey know what their dad is doing is very important.â€ť
Kay said family vacations make up for his time lost.
â€śWe like to take vacations and get away,â€ť Kay said. â€śHe needs to get away from the job too. Itâ€™s a stressful job and we all have to be understanding of that.â€ť
Gatton first became involved in police work in 1994 as a reserve with the sheriffâ€™s department. The next year he was hired in the jail, and in 1997 he became Deputy Gatton.
He took on the role of chief deputy in 2006 â€” one that was much different from his job on the road.
â€śIt was tough getting pinned down to a deskâ€ť Gatton said.
â€śIn the beginning it was a bit of a struggle. I have really grown to enjoy this now.â€ť
Gatton has many plans for improvement of the department, from smaller things like creating a more organized training schedule for the deputies, to leading the department as the sheriff.
â€śMy big vision is to become sheriff of this departmentâ€ť Gatton said.
â€śI want to leave this county a better place for my kids and the rest of the community.â€ť