Chatham County Sheriff Al St Lawrence passed away last Tuesday, November 24, 2015. The longtime lawman had been battling cancer for about a year. He was 81 and had been sheriff for 23 years. He was born in Dover, New Hampshire, son of John Ovid St. Lawrence and Mary Gagne St. Lawrence.
Mr. St. Lawrence enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1952 and was honorably discharged in 1956 after being stationed at Hunter Army Airfield, then called Hunter Air Force Base. After the military, he decided to make Savannah his home.
Mr. St. Lawrence began his career in law enforcement in 1959 with the Chatham County Police
Department. He held positions during his law enforcement career of Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain and Assistant Chief of Police. In 1971, he was appointed Chief, a position he held for 21 years until his retirement in April, 1992 to pursue the Office of Sheriff.
He was re-elected five times and intended his most recent term to be his last.
He oversaw changes in the department and the construction of a new jail. He was Chatham County Policeman of the year 1965, graduated from the F.B.I. in 1966 and was appointed to a four year term to the Georgia Crime Prevention Council in 1973 by Governor James E. Carter.
St Lawrence’s death came only two weeks after he and the sheriff’s office publicly acknowledged he had cancer.
St. Lawrence’s last year in office was made complicated with detainee Mathew Ajibade dying in custody, deputies being fired and indicted and outside consultants brought in to review department practices.
St Lawrence was also an a University of Georgia football fan. He is survived by his wife, Pat, six children, 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
The funeral service will be held 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist with Father Patrick O’Brien, Chaplain of the Chatham County Sheriff’s Department officiating. Interment will follow at the Greenwich section of Bonaventure Cemetery with Chatham County Sheriff’s Honors.
Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Islands Chapel is in charge of the services.