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franklin county times

Red Bay's investigator solves real crimes

By Staff
Melissa Cason
RED BAY – Police investigators are portrayed as having somewhat of a supernatural ability to solve any crime in the time span of one hour.
Unfortunately, this is the real world and crimes take days, months and sometimes years of hard work to be solved. Red Bay's investigator, Lt. Eddie Chandler, is a local example of an investigator who works hard to solve real-life crimes.
"People don't realize that we can't just take a report and instantly know who did what," Chandler said. "We have to have a lead to go on before anything gets solved."
Chandler has been a part-time investigator since 2001. He works two days as a patrolman, and three days as the investigator.
"Most of the time, I investigate thefts and burglaries," Chandler said.
While burglaries and thefts are what take up most of his time, Chandler has been involved in a few more serious cases including the Waldrop capital murder case that was recently tried in Franklin County.
Chandler worked with ABI Agent Mark McCormick while investigating the 2005 death of three-week-old Chance Waldrop. The baby's father, Jody Waldrop, was convicted of capital murder in the case earlier this month and will be sentenced in October.
Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said the guilty verdict was a result of good police work of both Chandler and McCormick.
Chandler began his police career with the Red Bay Police Department in 1998 after becoming interested in police work while serving in the U.S. Army.
"I didn't know what I really wanted to do for a long time, but after I came out of the Army, I knew that I wanted to become a police officer," Chandler said.
Chandler came out of full-time active duty in 1992, and re-joined the National Guard. Still, it was several years before Chandler had the opportunity to go to the police academy.
"I wanted to be a state trooper, but they put a hiring freeze when I first got out," Chandler said. "I drove a truck for a while before being hired at Red Bay."
Chandler and his wife, Angela, reside in Hamilton, and he has no plans to move. He said that he likes being able to go home and not be bothered, and that would not be possible if he lived in Red Bay.
"I rented a house here when we were remodeling, and it [living there] about drove me crazy," Chandler said.
He added that having peace of mind is well worth the drive to Red Bay every day.
Chandler said that he is satisfied with is career choice and that the best part of being a police officer is helping people, even though there is always the threat of danger that goes along with the job.
"You just don't ever know who you are dealing with," Chandler said. "There is a constant danger."
Two of Chandler's nephews have followed their uncle's lead by pursuing a career in law enforcement, and his daughter, April, is currently training to become a reserve officer with the Franklin County Sheriff's Department.
"She [April] wants to be a police officer," Chandler said. "I wasn't real happy with her choice at first, but I decided there was really nothing I could do about it."