Chief Joseph W. Wirthman

Meet Chief Joseph W. Wirthman! Chief Wirthman began his career in law enforcement in 1977. In September of 2006, Wirthman was appointed as the Chief of police for the Jefferson Police Department. Throughout his career he has worked as a Police Officer, Criminal Investigator, Special Investigator, Internal Affairs/Professional Standards, Training and Recruiting, Administrative Services, and commanding a police district sub-station. Chief Joseph W. Wirthman is an active community leader while also being a member of several community boards and advisory committees.

We would like to thank Chief Wirthman for sitting down with Raymon Fuentes, part of the Business Communications class at Jefferson High School, for this interview.

Question: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Answer: “I always wanted to be a police officer since I was five-years old, I lived in New York and my father owned a taxi business, and a lady had left her purse in a car and he dropped it off at the precinct house, and when I walked in they gave me a tour of the building and I knew that’s what I wanted to be.”

Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Jackson County, and what do you love there?
A: “Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is one of my favorites, they always treat us right and food is always good.”

Q: What modern convenience would you want if you were stuck on a deserted island?
A: “Purified Water, you can’t live without water”

Q: Who was your favorite teacher growing up?
A: “Ms. Elarde”

Q: How long have you lived or worked in Jackson County?
A: “I have lived here for 12 years”

Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met in Jackson County and why?
A: “Jim Joiner, the past mayor, was very helpful to me and insightful. He knew the community. Also, John Ward, the previous city manager, he was the one who hired me and got me through a tough time when I first came in. There were a lot of issues and we straightened it out. Without their support I wouldn’t have made it a year, but now I’ve made it to 12.”

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
A: “Israel, I was there on a counter-terrorism trip, I would go back in a heartbeat. They know how to do policing over there and they are very spiritual.”

Q: What is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
A: “’Night of the Living Dead.’”

Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: “Be respectful and live your life as you want to live it but be respectful of your friends and neighbors property. You can go a long way in this world with respect.”

Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “Go to Las Vegas, would like to get to where I can retire again, and just get in a vehicle and travel this great country we live in.”

Q: What is your favorite music/ three bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: “I like Oldies, Rock n’ Roll, would love to see The Allman Brothers, Bon Jovi, Andrea Bocelli.”

Q: What local business makes you the most nostalgic about Jackson County and why?
A: “Businesses and buildings in downtown Jefferson, and that brick-wall across from the Subway that has an old Coca-Cola sign and reminds me of what the town must’ve looked like.”

Q: Choosing anyone (past or present and a non-relative), with whom would you love to have lunch?  And where locally would you have this lunch?
A: “General Douglas McArthur, Beef O’ Brady’s”

Q: What is your favorite thing about Jackson County?
A: “There’s a lot of good things in Jackson County, I like the seasons here and how you can see them. Being right at the foothills of the mountains and within an hour you can be in Atlanta, Greenville, or up in the mountains.”

Q: Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?
A: “Retired playing golf.”

Q: What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: “I like to do cross-words puzzle and sports trivia.”

Q: What three words mean “Home” to you?
A: “My family, my country, and my God.”

The Faces of Jackson County is a project to showcase the amazing people that live or work in our community. If you would like to nominate an interesting person to be featured please email

Jill Venable-Abernathy with the Abernathy Cochran Groupwould love your Faces nominations.

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