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Editorâs 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 Sheriffâs Department. Marcus Gatton, 41, has more than one duty â heâs 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.
âWeâve always had a strong family,â Kay Gatton, Marcâs wife, said.
For the sheriffâs 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 monthâs shooting in Larwill.
âYou just donât know whatâs going to happen each day,â Gatton said. âI might have to leave at anytime.â
Thatâs something his wife and sons have gotten used to over the years.
Gatton has missed birthdays, holidays, choir concerts and school performances as heâs worked to balance his duties as a family man and servant to the community.
âThe boys know heâd be there if he could be,â Kay said. âThey know what their dad is doing is very important.â
Kay said family vacations make up for his time lost.
âWe like to take vacations and get away,â Kay said. âHe needs to get away from the job too. Itâs a stressful job and we all have to be understanding of that.â
Gatton first became involved in police work in 1994 as a reserve with the sheriffâs 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.
âIt was tough getting pinned down to a deskâ Gatton said.
âIn the beginning it was a bit of a struggle. I have really grown to enjoy this now.â
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.
âMy big vision is to become sheriff of this departmentâ Gatton said.
âI want to leave this county a better place for my kids and the rest of the community.â