Cannon named Whitfield County December Employee of the Month

Brandon Cannon

It didn't take long for Brandon Cannon to have an impact at his new job with the Whitfield County Public Defender's Office on May 1, 2012.

Cannon raced out of the starting gate, called upon that first day to represent a man who had been jailed for months awaiting trial for murder. Fortunately for the defendant, Cannon was able to locate a single piece of key evidence, previously missed by other investigators, that led to an acquittal for his client.

In the nearly eight years since that hectic first week, the Murray County High School graduate has consistently gone the extra mile while helping other clients and co-workers and finding time to seek certifications and training that help him do a better job.

"All of his training and certifications were accomplished not at the direction of his boss, but because he wanted to add value to the department and to the quality of the county's services," said Natalie Glaser, who successfully nominated him as Whitfield County Employee of the Month for December.

The best example of his job performance, she said, is his enthusiasm to attend court and assist attorneys in jury selection. "He has testified in more cases than most investigators across the state," Glaser said, "and does so because our office relies on his expertise that he has gained through self-guided career development."

Glaser said Cannon was an example to the office in January in particular. "He has been going above and beyond investigating serious cases," she said, "and has been instrumental in both helping clients that are later exonerated or providing the difficult facts for the clients that plead guilty."

In addition, she said Cannon has uplifted his co-workers as an inspirational person. "He has juggled achieving big goals in his physical fitness -- 5K medalist, enrolling back in school, being a dad and husband, and writing plays for his church in Chatsworth," Glaser said.

In addition to his direct responsibilities, Cannon maintains mutually beneficial relationships with other county departments, according to Glaser.

"He has attended meetings with the Whitfield County Sheriff's Office, and after informing them of his responsibilities, they were kind enough to provide him with a bullet-proof vest," she said. "The mutual respect of our departments, which can be of an adversarial nature in court, is extremely important to me and our office."

Cannon is a member of the Georgia Public Defender Training Council and has trained with the American Society of Trial Consultants. In just the last few years, he has additionally been certified in Interviews and Interrogations, while becoming a Board Certified Forensic Interviewer and receiving his Terminal Agency Coordinator Certification for the Georgia Crime Information Center and the National Crime Information Center.

Cannon was also nominated to represent investigators from Georgia at a nationwide conference last year but was unable to attend. He also received an intra-department Best All Around award in December for his exceptional performance during 2019.

To help local residents get to know him better, Cannon filled out the following fun questionnaire.

Job title: Chief investigator, CCDI (Board Certified Criminal Defense Investigator, one of only 12 in Georgia), CFI-FTER (Board Certified Forensic Interviewer in relation to the forensic testimonial evidence recovery method, the only one in Georgia) for the Whitfield County Public Defender's Office

I started working for the county in: 2004.

Where I went to high school: Murray County High School.

My role as a county employee: Duties include knowledge and understanding of the component method as it relates to conducting criminal defense investigations, interviewing, crime scene analysis, methodical analysis of individuals for background investigations, extensive analysis and research for the purpose of jury selection, assisting the attorneys with selecting juries, gathering of physical and testimonial evidence, detailed report writing, continuing education (currently one of seven on the investigator training board committee for the Georgia Public Defender Council to help pioneer continuing education/training programs for other criminal defense investigators in Georgia) and courtroom testifying.

What keeps my job interesting: The various different cases, challenges and obstacles that come along with extracting the truth for the criminal cases. Also, the personal relation aspect of the job. I enjoy meeting and interacting with people from all over.

What gives me a sense of accomplishment on the job: Defending the Constitution one case at a time, helping those who are in need, and obtaining the truth!

The most important thing I've done on the job: I started at the Whitfield County Public Defender's Office on May 1, 2012. My first case that day was a murder investigation. Our client had been sitting in jail for several months for a crime he did not commit. After months of investigation, I uncovered a single piece of evidence that the Whitfield County District Attorney's Office, sheriff's office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation missed completely. This uncovering of evidence led to our client being freed from jail. I am the only investigator employed at my agency so the odds were not in my favor as all the different law enforcement agencies that had a chance to uncover the same evidence as I did, but struck out. I overcame those odds and helped set an innocent man free!

Where I grew up: Murray County.

Spouse and children: Ashley (wife), Juliana (daughter), Brady (son).

After work, I enjoy: Spending time with my family, working out, teaching my cardio fitness class, running and writing.

Community activities: Script writing and directing adult dramas for Welcome Hill Baptist Church in Dalton.

Hobbies: Working out, karate, running and script writing.

Favorite TV show: "Sons of Anarchy."

Favorite movie: "The Dark Knight," "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective," "Son-in-Law," "Black Hawk Down," "Training Day" and "American Sniper."

Favorite actor/actress: Denzel Washington.

Favorite team: New England Patriots.

Favorite meal: My top three -- meatloaf, pizza and authentic tacos.

Favorite singers: Brent Smith and Steven Tyler.

Favorite Whitfield County restaurant: Buckin' Burrito.

Favorite Whitfield County event: Silver Bell Race.

You can pick four people to have dinner with (anyone from any time in history) -- who are your four people and why?

1. Jesus Christ (needs no explanation, his name alone speaks for itself!).

2. My grandma, Sylvia, who died in 2004 and was an amazing woman!

3. Tom Brady. My son is named after him, and besides, he is the greatest quarterback that has ever played!

4. Chris Kyle. He was an American hero and defended this great country with everything he had.

I'm most proud of: 1. Being a husband and dad. 2. Quitting chewing tobacco after 15 years. (I am currently four years tobacco free!)

Cats or dogs? Dogs.

Cake or pie? Cake.

Cornbread or roll? Cornbread.

Favorite cars? 1972 Plymouth Barracuda and a Rolls Royce Phantom.

Host or be hosted? Host.

Early riser or sleep-in: Early riser.

Favorite vacation ever: Too many to name.

Best teachers I ever had and why: Ben Kiker, George Jeter, Brandon Perron and Tom Morrison. Ben Kiker is the founder of United Karate Studios in Dalton. Through his teachings and guidance he helped me become disciplined, confident and skillful not only in martial arts but in life as well at an early age. In my teenage years, George Jeter was my boxing coach. He helped ground me during my teenage years, and through his teachings helped mold me into a better teenager and fighter. His vast knowledge of boxing skills is unparalleled. In my adult years, Brandon Perron. He is a distinguished investigator from Stuart, Florida, who invented the board-certified criminal defense investigation council. His teachings in criminal defense investigation helped me become the investigator that I am today. His vast knowledge in the world of criminal investigations is non-comparable to anyone else. Lastly is Tom Morrison, the fitness coordinator at Bradley Wellness Center. He has taught me a lot about health and nutrition, which has helped transform my overall health through my adult years. He is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge when it comes to health and nutrition.

Pet peeve: Nagging, attitudes and rude people.

If I've learned one thing in life, it's: In everything give thanks!

Who has had the most impact on my life: Jesus Christ.

What's left on my bucket list: Visiting Cuba, getting a slice of pizza from New York and Chicago, and going to the Hall of Fame ceremony for Tom Brady.

If I could have been in any profession of my choosing, I would have been a: Television writer.

If I could have two wishes, they would be: Writing for television and more patience.

You'd be surprised to learn that I: Am a taekwondo black belt for the best karate studio on the planet (United Karate Studios) and a former boxer.

The best advice I ever got: Practice makes permanent, nothing tastes as good as skinny feels and it is better that 10 guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer!

Anything else you'd like to say: I want to thank my wonderful parents, wife and children for all their support through my career. A special thanks to all the amazing staff at the Georgia Public Defender Council for all their hard work in making sure we have the best resources available to help our clients. My awesome co-workers that I get to share my work day with. Lastly, my amazing boss, Natalie Glaser, for this unexpected nomination. I am very humbled and appreciative not only to be able to represent her, but this great organization as well.

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