Sheriff’s office taking applications for citizens’ academy


CULLMAN –  The Cullman County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) is taking applications now for the next session of its popular Citizens' Academy. The academy is a nine-week course and is free to the public; however, class size is limited.

The academy begins on Tuesday, Aug. 22 at 6 p.m. and will meet weekly on Tuesdays from 6-9 p.m.

“Participants will learn about virtually every aspect of a deputy’s job,” said CCSO Director of Communications Bradley Williams, “including patrol, administration, dispatch, communications, criminal law, SWAT, crime scene investigations, jail operations and many other areas.”

Here’s how Capt. Mark Persall has explained the academy. "We will have presentations on the criminal justice system and the courts, including classes taught by our judges, district attorney and federal agencies including the FBI, DEA, Secret Service and ATF.  We will have demonstrations on crime scene investigation, sex-offender registry and compliance and a tour of our courts and the Cullman County Detention Center and communications center," said Persall. "We will explain the Sheriff’s Office's responsibility to conduct secure elections.  Our investigators will cover the investigation process for violent crimes, property crimes, fraud, scams, credit card offenses, child abuse and animal cruelty. We will talk about illegal drugs and profile major cases prosecuted in north Alabama. The Joint Terrorism Task Force (FBI) will highlight terrorist ties to people in Alabama.  We will talk about our School Resource Deputies protecting our schools and their instruction of the D.A.R.E. program.  We will teach self-defense, personal protection, use of force and firearms instruction including a day of live-fire shooting.   We will also have demonstrations of SWAT techniques and building entries.  We will also highlight community projects like Neighborhood Watch, Telephone Senior Assurance Programs, Safety Plans for faith-based organizations, Active Shooter training and the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office Rodeo and Special Needs Children’s Rodeo."

This session will be the fifth so far.

"Our purpose," said Persall, "is to let the people of Cullman County know that the sheriff’s office belongs to them.  The Alabama constitution sanctions that each county will elect a sheriff to administrate services for the district, circuit and probate courts, to maintain a county jail and to provide law enforcement services to their citizens. Sheriff Gentry wants participants to see our total operation and even ride with the deputies on patrol to see the challenges and dangers they face and understand how they protect their communities.

"We also want to teach the historical origins of the office of sheriff, which goes back to ninth-century England.  Civilization has recognized the office of sheriff to represent the people for over 1,100 years!" continued Persall.

The academy will take place at the CCSO’s new training facility next door to the Sheriff’s Office at 1920 Beech Ave. SE. To obtain an application, visit the CCSO at 1910 Beech Ave. SE, contact Persall at 256-734-0342 or or Williams at

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