Local cattleman and pastor recognized by state ag dept. for excellence in service
Published 3:54 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Governor Bill Lee has recognized Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Greg Whitehead of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) with the Governor’s Excellence in Service Award as an outstanding state employee at the forefront of improving the way Tennessee State Government delivers services.
Whitehead, a Carter Countian, leads TDA’s Agricultural Crime Unit (ACU), a team of law enforcement officers who enforce state laws and regulations related to agriculture, forestry, animal health, and agribusinesses in Tennessee. ACU is also the primary agency responsible for investigation of suspected wildland arson statewide.
“Special Agent in Charge Whitehead was one of our first commissioned officers more than 20 years ago,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M., said. “Under his leadership, our crime unit responds faster and resolves cases quicker. Those efforts lead to increased safety and security for the citizens of Tennessee.”
Whitehead began his work with TDA in 1995 as a Forestry Aide in Sullivan County. Following numerous promotions and law enforcement training, Whitehead was appointed to ACU at its inception in 2000. He was promoted to Captain in 2008 and to Special Agent in Charge in 2021.
Whitehead sets high expectations for the unit’s delivery of services and equips his team to serve at the highest level. He oversees casework assignment and completion and emphasizes team training and response time. Exceptional performance metrics, timely and accurate communication, and overall service to other law enforcement officers and to the public have been noted by Whitehead’s constituents.
“It’s an honor to be recognized for work with a vast reach of agricultural law enforcement areas,” SAC Greg Whitehead said. “As ACU special agents, we never know what the day will bring, from wildland fire investigations to conducting livestock welfare examinations, but we are each ready to serve alongside other officers and the general public thanks to our continuous training and teamwork.”
Whitehead earned a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources Management from the University of Tennessee at Martin, an associate degree in Ministry from Welch College in Gallatin, and is slated to graduate later this year with a master’s degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City. He is also a 2019 graduate of the state’s inaugural Criminal Justice Leadership Academy and a member of the International Association of Arson Investigators.
In addition to law enforcement service, Whitehead is dedicated to service through leadership in his community. For 20 years, he has served as pastor of the Morgan Chapel Free Will Baptist Church in Roan Mountain. He is also the president of the Carter County Cattlemen’s Association and an assistant scout master for the Boy Scouts.
Whitehead and his wife, Celena, have been married for 20 years and are parents to a teenage son, Seth. They run a small cattle operation on the family farm in Carter County.