Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich called her “an incredible public servant.”
“She has performed one of the most critical and thankless jobs with a level of professionalism and integrity that all should try to achieve,” said Gen. Weirich. “While she rarely had contact with the victims, she performed her job as if the victims were in her office with her. We, as an office, and a community, are forever indebted to her.”
Truitt was hired in 1977 by Dist. Atty. Gen. Hugh Stanton as a records analyst who reviewed the criminal histories of defendants to determine if they were eligible to be prosecuted as major violators.
She originally worked out of the Tenoeke Building at 161 Jefferson, then moved to the basement of 157 Poplar and finally to the third floor at 201 Poplar. She also worked under Dist. Attys. Gen. John Pierotti and Bill Gibbons.
For a time Truitt worked as a criminal investigator in the DA’s office, carrying a gun and a badge and seeing some memorable sights.
“I went out when we raided the strip joints and shut them all down,” she said, referring to an event that led the evening news for weeks. “My job was to get the females dressed, check their purses and get them out of the locker room. It was not pretty in there.”
Shortly before Gen. Pierotti took office in 1990, Truitt was placed in charge of the file room and the thousands of criminal case files stored there.
“Nobody wanted the job so they asked me if I wanted to do it,” she recalled. “They said if I would just do it a little while then I could go back to doing major violators if I didn’t like it. I just learned on the job and we created new systems as the volume of cases grew. As they changed, I just had to change with it.”
The case files are assigned an alphabet letter and then a number up to 9,999. (The JSS computer database cannot accommodate five numbers.) When Truitt joined the office the files began with the letter E, but now have gone through the entire alphabet and started anew.
“Now we’re on AY and we’ve been adding 15,000 cases a year for the last 15 years,” said Truitt, who supervised four employees. “We have three off-site storage areas, plus one in this building.” Still, she enjoyed the challenge of keeping things in order, even as the numbers continued to mount.
“I liked the problem solving aspect of it and the people I worked with,” Truitt said. “I enjoyed helping prosecutors get what they needed.”
Retirement will allow her to spend time with husband Bryan, do some gardening, visit with her sister in Oakland, a nephew in Lakeland, a niece in Nashville, other relatives from here to Texas, and complete a quilt begun by her late mother.
She also will enjoy setting her own schedule every day. “But I’m really going to miss seeing this great bunch of people here every day,” Truitt said. “I’ve probably spent more time with them than with my own family.”
Gen. Weirich said Dolly Jaco will succeed Truitt as head of the file room and is certain she will “continue the legacy that Sandra leaves behind.”