When Bulloch County Sheriff Noel Brown took office in January, he already knew who would be his chief deputy - a man he knew was stable, could keep his head in challenging situations, and who gets along with everybody.
Bulloch County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Bill Black has proven his dependability time and time again throughout the years, Brown said. “He is always so supportive and very helpful. If he doesn’t know the answer to something, he will tell you – then he will find it out.”
Black didn’t start out with a childhood dream of being in law enforcement, although his grandfather Henry Black was a police chief in Sylvania long ago. That might have had some influence, but it all started with Black when he took a part time job as a jailer under former Bulloch County sheriff Arnold Ray Akins.
He also worked as a dispatcher for the sheriff’s office while he attended Georgia Southern University, where he achieved a bachelor’s degree in history. Black is a history buff, he admits; reading history books is how he spends his spare time.
He joined the National Guard right out of high school, and after graduation from college in 1990, he began working full time as a deputy. He worked under former GSU chief Ken Brown, who said Black started out as a sergeant and was promoted to detective.
In 2001 Black returned to the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office as an investigator, and not long afterward was involved in a tragic struggle with a burglary suspect that ended with Black wounded and his coworker, Sgt. Wilbur Berry, killed.
The suspect, found in an abandoned house, started fighting deputies and somehow grabbed a gun. Shots were exchanged, and the suspect was killed. Berry died of his wounds and Black suffered gunshot wounds in his chest and shoulder.
It was a dark time for the department, he said, recalling several fellow deputies whom he said influenced him greatly.
“Bennie Rushing, Carl Sammons, Wilbur (Berry) and Charlie Hendrix- they were such good guys,” he said.
The office has a friendly, family atmosphere” when they were around. “The people I work with have been good from the beginning.”
Black served as an investigator for the sheriff’s office until his promotion in January.
As chief deputy, Black has a great deal of training under his belt, including being a certified crime scene technician, certified state corrections officer and having many other law enforcement qualifications.
What makes him a great chief deputy, however, is his attitude, Sheriff Brown said.
“He is level headed, humble and kind,” he said. “He doesn’t lose his temper and has been a great help to many people.”
Black’s decision-making capabilities and the fact “he can talk to anyone made him the reasonable choice for chief deputy, he said.
Ken Brown echoed the sheriff’s words.
Black “has the kind of disposition you need as a chief deputy,” he said. “He is real steady, doesn’t get too high or too low, and makes good decisions.”
Black said he enjoys his job and working with his coworkers as well as Bulloch County residents. “The community supports law enforcement,” he said.
Married to wife Christie, the couple has a daughter, Andie Jane, age 2 ½. They attend Compassion Church in Statesboro.
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.