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The Sheriffs of Hamilton County
Portrait of Allen Branum

A lifelong resident of Hamilton County, Billy grew up in Tiftonia. He was the youngest of four children. His father owned and operated Woodrow Long’s Garage and Wrecker Service in Tiftonia for many, many years. Billy graduated from Central High School in 1970. His class was the first to graduate from the new Central on 58 Hwy. After high school, Billy joined the Army. Billy was a volunteer to the Army even though Vietnam was in full swing at the time. His first three years in the Army, he served with the 82nd Airborne in Fort Bragg, N.C.

Upon return to Chattanooga in 1974, Billy began his career with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. He started out working in the jail, along with dispatch and patrol, which was not unusual in those days. He also worked in traffic for many years and was one of two officers to start the Motorcycle Division of the county in 1981 and conducted the first training classes for other Hamilton County Agencies.

In 31 years of service with Hamilton County, he worked his way up through the ranks of the department. He worked as a Traffic investigator for many years and was one of the three original Traffic Reconstruction Investigators. He also served as Special Events Coordinator for events that are conducted throughout Hamilton County to include the Riverbend Festival, the County Fair at Chester Frost Park, and the Air Show at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport. In 2004, he conceived the idea and became the first Court Liaison Officer for the Hamilton County Criminal and Sessions Courts. As a direct result of this, his coordination with the Criminal Court Systems saved the County thousands of tax dollars. During his last years before retirement, then Lieutenant Long was responsible for the Homeland Security preparedness of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

While working full time at the Sheriff’s Office, Billy attended Cleveland State Community College. He received his Associate Degree in Criminal Justice in 1981.

Billy served for 17 years in the Tennessee Army National Guard, where he rose to the rank of First Sergeant. Billy is a veteran of both the Desert Shield and Desert Storm conflicts, and was stationed in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait during the conflicts. He received the Army Commendation Medal for his service during these conflicts. Billy retired with 20 years of military service in 2002.

And finally, Billy was elected as Sheriff of Hamilton County and took office September 1, 2006. He served for approximately seventeen (17) months before being indicted on twenty-seven charges, convicted, and subsequently incarcerated for a fourteen year sentence.

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