Sheriff’s Office Overview
The Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer in the county. An important duty is to provide the law enforcement services to the unincorporated areas of the county; however, he maintains full law enforcement jurisdiction in all cities and townships within the county. Enforcement duties include criminal investigations and the investigation of all types of traffic accidents. One of the duties of the Sheriff, however, is the service of legal processes of the courts and the conduct of elections. Also under the Sheriff’s responsibility is the operating and maintaining of the county jail. All these services have to be provided seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
For one to understand the history of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, there should be an understanding of what the duties of the Sheriff are, as set forth by the laws of the State of Alabama and it’s Constitution.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Headquarters, in the Birmingham Division, is located at 2200 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd., Birmingham. The Birmingham county jail is located just next door on Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd N. Sheriff’s Sub-stations are located in the strategic areas of the county, including Center Point, Forestdale, Cahaba Heights and Mt. Olive. The Sheriff’s Office is also located in Bessemer Cut-Off Division, Bessemer. The Bessemer county jail is located next door to the Bessemer Sheriff’s Office Headquarters. There are three sub-stations located in McCalla, Oakgrove, and Sylvan Springs. Bessemer is twelve miles west of Birmingham. Sheriff Mike Hale maintains an office in both Divisions.
The Chief Deputy is second in command of the Sheriff’s Office and oversees the daily operation and administration of the Office. The Assistant Sheriff commands the Bessemer Cut-Off Division and reports to the Sheriff.
The Patrol Division is an important part of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Patrol deputies perform a variety of functions for the protection and service of the citizens of Jefferson County and is responsible for the enforcement of all state and federal laws involving criminal offenses. It also performs many service functions ranging from investigating traffic accidents to numerous types of public assist requests from citizens. Their overall mission is to keep neighborhoods and communities safe.
Patrol is decentralized in order to better respond quickly and effectively to all calls. In this regard, the divisions are divided primarily between Birmingham, which has 123 personnel (rank of deputy) and Bessemer with 46. Besides the main Headquarters Building in Birmingham and Headquarters in Bessemer, Patrol also maintains substations in Center Point, Forestdale, Cahaba Heights, McCalla, Mt. Olive, Oak Grove and Sylvan Springs in order to have deputies stationed as close as possible to their primary patrol areas.
Criminal Investigations is the primary investigations arm of the Sheriff’s Office. Personnel assigned to Criminal Investigations utilize traditional investigative skills as well as advanced technical procedures to conduct many types of criminal investigations. Detectives are assigned specific cases and attempt to identify, apprehend and assist in the prosecution of individuals committing crimes in Jefferson County. Detectives are responsible for investigating thousands of cases. These include murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, theft, arson, child abuse, identity theft, and violations of the convicted sex offender laws.
Support Services Division is composed of Fiscal Management and Planning, Property, and Communications.
The School Resource Division provides law enforcement services to Jefferson County schools and the communities those schools serve. There are 50 schools in the Jefferson County School System. Deputies in this division develop communication with students through the presentation of Drug Abuse Resistance Education curricula, Gang Resistance Education curricula, and other law related instructional courses.
The Academy and Training Bureau consists of the Sheriff’s Academy and the firearms range. The Academy is the only Deputy Sheriffs Training Academy in the state. And, as such, includes additional training required for deputy sheriffs in the fields of civil process and corrections. The firearms range conducts two qualification classes per year, as well as several other instructional courses provided to personnel.
Court Services Division is responsible for civil processes and the conduct of elections. Personnel in this division serve subpoenas, summonses and arrest warrants.
Jefferson County Corrections Division includes the Birmingham County Jail and the Bessemer County Jail. More than 29,000 people are committed to the jails annually. More than 2,000 are sent to penitentiaries annually. The average daily inmate count for both jails increases yearly and is currently over 1200 inmates per day.
The Sheriff’s Office also consists of many specialized units; Motor Scouts, Bomb Squad, Canine Unit, Crisis Negotiation Team, Animal Cruelty Specialists, Truck Weighing Unit, Honor Guard, and S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons and Tactics), Computer Forensics, Convicted Sex Offender Investigator Unit, Cold Case Unit, Vice and Narcotics Unit, Terrorism Unit and the Highway Traffic Safety Unit.
The Sheriff’s Reserve Deputies volunteer service to the citizens of Jefferson County providing security at major public events, patrol coverage on weekends and high activity times and they also transport prisoners. The Reserve Deputies enhance the effectiveness of the department.