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Deputy cherishes 32 years with sheriff’s office
Shane Henson DCSO
Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson presents Capt. Shane Henson, right, with a certificate for being employed with the agency for over three decades.

When Shane Henson started with the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office in 1989, he didn’t realize his tenure with the agency would endure for over three decades. Now, 32 years later, he’s glad it turned out that way. 

Both Capt. Henson and Maj. Greg Rowan were recently recognized by DCSO for working there for at least 30 years. 

Henson said that he initially intended on getting involved with animal science, rather than law enforcement as a career. 

However, a different path opened up to him as a teenager living in Dawson County. While he was still in high school, he started on a volunteer basis with the county’s then much-smaller fire department, of which Rowan was the fire chief at the time.

“There were probably 30 of us [volunteers] in training classes together,” Henson said. “When we got involved with that (firefighting), we worked together with the sheriff’s office…with our buddies, we were there every night and on the weekends.”  

After a short stint away from Dawsonville, Henson returned and started with DCSO as a part-time dispatcher and jailer’s deputy. 

“Dispatch used to be both the jailer and the dispatcher. When I started, there were only like six inmates [at the jail],” he said. “From midnight to 8 o'clock in the morning, I was the only one there.” 

Then in 1992, he went to the police academy and subsequently began working full time at DCSO. He had stints as a patrol division deputy and a member of the Appalachian Drug Task Force before getting married and starting a family. 

Henson then worked in the criminal investigations division before returning to patrol.

When he started working with the Dawson County School District in the 2000s, he held the rank of sergeant. Henson said he served as a school resource officer for at least 10 years and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant during that time. 

“What I liked about the school system was the kids…you could go to hang out with them and if you were in a bad mood, and they’d cheer you right up,” Henson said. 

For a little over a year now, he’s been working at the county courthouse. 

Without a doubt, though, Henson considers DCSO’s annual “Shop-with-a-cop” event “one of the biggest blessings” he gets each year as an officer. 

“It's just the joyful laughter and smiles you get out of everybody involved,” he said about the event. “It’s a good feeling to give back. If I'm alive and well, and my health is good, I’m going to be there for that.” 

Capt. Henson reflected on how his job and the nature of emergency calls have changed over the years. 

“Every call is interesting,” he said. “You’ve got people who’ve lost something all the way to something really bad [that’s happened.]” 

Catching speeders has become more of a challenging and sometimes dangerous task with increased traffic on local roads. 

Henson also explained that citizens have become more friendly to deputies and show support over the past several years. He credits that to personnel keeping the public’s trust with the sacrifices they make and their love for the community. 

“It’s unbelievable how much more our county [as a whole] has gotten behind us,” Henson said. “It’s that kind of support that makes you pick your head up after a bad day and go back again.”