Local Obituaries

Former chief of now-defunct Scott County Police Department dies after tree falls on him

Phillip Dwayne Wise, a former chief of the now-defunct Scott County Police Department, died Tuesday after a tree he was cutting fell and pinned him, Scott County Coroner John Goble said.

Wise, 67, was using a chain saw to cut a tree in his front yard when the tree fell onto him, Goble said.

"He couldn't get out of the way of it and pinned him right across his chest," Goble said.

Wise was pronounced dead at Georgetown Community Hospital. The cause of death was blunt force trauma, Goble said.

The county police department was established by Judge-Executive Charlie Sutton in 1980. It worked in conjunction with the sheriff's office, and patrolled outside the Georgetown city limits.

Opponents said the department was a political tool of the county judge-executive and that its responsibilities could be shifted to the county sheriff's office.

Wise was chief of the department from 1984 until 1988, when the position and department were abolished by County Judge-Executive Charles "Macy" Tackett.

At the time of its elimination, the department had employed eight full-time police officers, seven part-time employees and two full-time administrators.

Wise said at the time that the department's elimination was a "purely political move" that had hurt the laid-off county officers and could affect the quality of law enforcement in the county.

Wise had also been a deputy under two sheriffs, Goble said.