The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department announced personnel changes and the addition of two outreach programs for citizens interested in local law enforcement this week.
Sheriff Max Sanders said his department hired three full-time deputies and two corrections officers as of Tuesday, and the department is opening registration for a Citizens Police Academy and the Law Enforcement Explorer Program, which will both begin this summer.
Chad Sheffield, Jonathon Glaze and Brandi Reed were hired last week as full-time deputies.
He told the County Commission in a work session last Wednesday, Feb. 6, that the jail was filled with 150 to 160 inmates and only had two jailers. As of Tuesday, Sanders said two additional correctional officers, Susan Peterson and Mathew Proctor, and Chief Correctional Officer Jerry Williams were all hired to help man the facility.
Carl Steven Benson was hired as an investigator, Jennifer Jeffreys as a dispatcher, Bill Lapradd as a courthouse deputy, Joel Peterson as a part-time transportation officer, and Antwon Plott was hired as an additional School Resource Officer, Sanders said. His department also reassigned Charles Hamby as an SRO.
“We’ve stumbled through some challenges, but we’re making progress and staying positive,” Sanders said of his overall transition. “As a whole, we’ve gotten good reception.”
Sanders said he and the department are working towards the addition of several community outreach projects he promised during his campaign in 2018.
Chief Deputy Tim Sandlin is overseeing two such programs the department is getting to launch this summer.
The Sheriff’s Office will host a Citizens Police Academy beginning in June, Sandlin said.
The program will give county residents the opportunity to learn more about their Sheriff’s Office and it’s day-to-day operations by hosting classes once a week for five weeks.
“There is no cost to attend,” Sandlin said. “The course will include classroom lecture and discussion as well as practical exercises. Topics covered will include, but are not limited to, the role of the sheriff’s office, patrol duties, criminal investigation, and other operations of the sheriff’s office.”
Classes will be held each Tuesday night from 6 to 8 p.m. during the five-week period with meeting locations announced prior to each class. Sandlin said class-size is limited to 20 students to maintain a desired student-to-instructor ratio.
“While every effort is made to enroll all applicants, the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office does reserve the right to deny applications based on an individual’s known criminal history,” he said.
The department will also implement the Law Enforcement Explorer Program, which is open to young men and women between the ages of 14 and 20, who are interested in learning more about career options within the criminal justice system.
“The program offers young adults a personal awareness of the criminal justice system through training, practical exercises, competition and other activities,” said Sandlin. “We feel it very important to implement proactive programs for the youth in our county. The presence of an Explorer Program within the agency will be a positive factor in influencing departmental attitudes, both internally and externally.”
While the program will give participants the opportunity to broaden their understanding of public safety professions by demonstrating the challenges law enforcement agencies are faced with each day and the skillsets required to overcome them, the program will also give its participants the opportunity to give back to their community.
Sanders said Sandlin was tasked with overseeing crime-prevention programs when he worked as a deputy for the sheriff’s office over 12 years ago, and he trusts Sandlin to oversee the same programs in 2019.
Applications for either program may be picked up at the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office located at 242 Parker Road in Moulton.
Students may also request applications for the Law Enforcement Explorer Program from their School Resource Officer.
For more information call 256-974-9291.