Butts County E-911 Director Virginia Holton announced her intention to retire as the Chief of the County E-911 agency effective on July 7, 2013. In a letter submitted to the County Administrator last week, Holton stated “I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to work with Butts County for 20 years and to work in a department that has been a rewarding experience. The first love of my life is my husband and family, the second is the caring for the 9-1-1 center”.
Holton has served in the County’s E-911 Department since the formation of the department in 1993, when she was selected to be one of the first supervisors to work there. Hired as a Shift Supervisor/Lieutenant, she is currently the only county employee left in the department that has been with it for its entire existence and has seen the department grow and change in many ways. Prior to her work with the County, Holton had worked for ten years with the City of Jackson Police Department, also in dispatch. After her selection as a Supervisor by then-Director Terri Wilkerson, Holton assisted with transition that would combine multiple small dispatch agencies into one unified E-911 dispatch center, which opened at its original location on South Mulberry Street.
In 1995, Holton was promoted to Assistant Director with the rank of Captain and in 1998, she was elevated to Major. She served as Assistant Director until 2004 when she was promoted to Director and has held the position for the past nine years. Former E-911 Director and current County Administrator Michael Brewer stated that “Virginia Holton has been an important and integral part of the entire history of our E-911 center. We were both there the day they turned it on for the first time and it has been running pretty much nonstop since then. Virginia always expected the best from those who worked under her and when I moved into Administration, there was no one more capable to assume the Director’s position than her”.
Holton has seen many changes in the industry during her time. As head of the most technologically driven department in the County, she has witnessed 911 evolve from a simple landline based operation limited to name, address and phone number to one that incorporated wireless phone tracking and GPS based mapping to pinpoint callers exact locations. Analog communication has given over to digital and everything is computer driven in the County’s modern E-911 center.
Commission Chairman G.S. “Gator” Hodges stated “The citizens of Butts County owe a debt of gratitude to Virginia Holton for all she has contributed towards their safety. Most people never think about the folks behind all the fire engines, ambulances and patrol cars that are coordinating our emergency forces and seeing to it that help gets where it is needed. I am personally grateful for the job she has done for the past 20 years and on behalf of the Board, we wish her well in her retirement”.
Holton’s last day with the County will be July 7th. E-911 Training Coordinator Sonia Sands will serve as Acting Director until a permanent replacement is selected.