Jefferson County is the most populated county in the state of Alabama with a land area of 1,158 square miles and a citizen population exceeding 661,000.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has a work force of 573 sworn deputies and 168 civilian employees.
Sheriff’s Office operations have been decentralized to meet the needs of the communities. The Office is divided into the Birmingham and Bessemer Districts, with a separate corrections facility located in each district. These jails provide care and custody of over 1,600 inmates daily. There are presently five substations throughout Jefferson County. They are located in Center Point, Forestdale, Cahaba Heights, Mt. Olive and Oak Grove. Patrol Deputies and Criminal Investigators operate out of these substations to better meet the needs of the community. Other divisions of the Sheriff’s Office consist of Court Services, Support Services, Internal Affairs, Academy and Training, School Resources, Patrol, Criminal, and Bessemer Enforcement.
To enhance the quality of law enforcement, the following significant changes have taken place:
- Walkie-talkies were purchased for each patrol deputy to aid in reducing criminal activity.
- Development of a Contract Law Enforcement program.
- Patrol Deputies have been assigned take home patrol cars to increase visibility and enhance the security of our citizens.
- Creation of a Sheriff’s Office Law Enforcement Academy.
- Installed a Computer Aided Dispatch system that increases efficiency and response time.
- Creation of a School Resource Division for safe, drug-free schools.
- Installation of Automated Fingerprint Identification System (A.F.I.S.)
- Mobile Data Terminals have been installed in all patrol cars.
In December of 1982, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office entered a consent decree with the United States Department of Justice related to the hiring and promotion of African-Americans and females. Almost thirty-five years later, in March of 2017, a federal judge released the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office from almost all of the provisions of that consent decree. The judge determined that under Sheriff Mike Hale, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office’s hiring and promotional practices had been fair and that they did not discriminate against African-Americans or females. Today’s Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office looks like the community it serves, and the judge complimented Sheriff Hale on his commitment to diversity and compliance with federal law. The numbers speak for themselves: nearly 30% of the deputy sheriffs are African-American; nearly 20% of the deputy sheriffs are female; over a third of the officers are African American.