SHERIFF H.Q. EVATT
1968-1974 / 1978-1994
H.Q. Evatt was one of the most popular sheriffs to ever hold the office in Hamilton County. The youngest of four children, Evatt was born on September 9th, 1929 to Hettie Lou Wallen and Henry Quillian Evatt, Sr.
H. Q. operated a service station for a short time after spending two years in the Marine Corps. In 1952, he was hired as a clerk in Hamilton County General Sessions Court, Criminal Division. His association with law enforcement started in 1957 when he was hired as a bookkeeper at the county jail during the administration of Red Maddox.
When James “Bookie” Turner was elected sheriff in 1958, he retained Evatt and eventually named him head bookkeeper. In 1963, Evatt was named chief deputy under Sheriff Frank Newell, and at thirty-four he became the youngest chief deputy of a sheriff’s department in the county.
Shortly after winning his first election in 1968, the new sheriff instituted the department’s own in-service training school. (The law for minimum standards in Tennessee for police officers was finally passed in 1970.) Evatt was required to step down after serving the maximum three terms (six consecutive years) allowed by state law.
Evatt’s popularity and successful past record as sheriff led him to another victory in 1978. By this time, Tennessee law had changed, and the sheriff’s term of office was increased to four years instead of two. The law further allowed unlimited terms of office. During the first years of this tenure, one top goal and accomplishment was the implementation of a Civil Service program. This was accomplished in 1980, providing job security for personnel for the first time in the history of the sheriff’s office.
Evatt consistently sought ways to improve services for citizens of Hamilton County by implementing and overseeing many other innovative projects and technical changes. He formed the first Traffic Division, expanded Investigative Services, organized the Marine Patrol, DUI Task Force, Community Relations Council, a full time chaplaincy program for the department, established counseling services in the jail and provided literacy classes and G.E.D. tutoring and testing for the inmates.
H.Q. Evatt remained active in every area of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office until his retirement in 1994. He is the only sheriff to occupy offices in the Hamilton County Jail, the Hamilton County Justice Building and the Hamilton County - Chattanooga City Courts Building. He served the citizens of Hamilton County for forty-two years.Back to Past Sheriffs