CONYERS - Jeff Wigington's sons always told him that they didn't want to go into law enforcement. Wigington, the sheriff of Rockdale County, even joked that his sons should pursue something else.
"I want them to do what they want to do," he said.
But after the years passed by and his sons grew up, they reconsidered. As it turned out, his sons just happened to want to follow in their dad's footsteps.
Larry Wigington, 24, is a lieutenant with the Newton County Sheriff's Office, and Scott Wigington, 22, is a trooper with the Georgia State Patrol, stationed in Cartersville.
While Jeff started in law enforcement in 1977 when he was only 17 years old, Larry and Scott weren't as sure about their future careers when they were his age.
Larry attended Valdosta State University for a few years and was unable to decide on a major when he decided he wanted to try law enforcement. Scott had been a mechanic for Conyers Toyota and Wilson Tractors when he chose to become a state trooper.
"I love what I do," Larry said. "There is no doubt about that. It's exciting. It's fun. There is nothing better."
"I would probably still do it, even if I hit the lottery," Scott said.
Larry and Scott were never pressured into becoming police officers. They said it was never really an issue when they were younger.
"We didn't play cops and robbers games more than anyone else," Larry said.
But it's really no surprise that two of Sheriff Wigington's three sons have decided to work in law enforcement.
"Their entire lives they've seen me in law enforcement, and they knew what to expect," Jeff said.
Sometimes, though, pursuing the same line of work as Dad doesn't make things easier. Larry said many of his peers teased him during police academy and in the office for being the sheriff's son, but that didn't dampen his enthusiasm for his job.
"Generally, I try not to (ask Dad for advice)," Larry said. "I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings."
In August, Larry is leaving the NCSO to be a second lieutenant in the Marines. The sheriff's youngest son, John, 19, still doesn't know if he wants to become a police officer.
For the Wigingtons, though, a family with a long history in law enforcement, it's all about loving what you do.
Brittany Binowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.