According to Sheriff Jeff Shaver, two Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office investigators were sworn-in as task force officers with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) on Thursday, January 11, 2018, at the Alabama State Capitol. Governor’s Kay Ivey’s Secretary of Law Enforcement, Hal Taylor, awarded ALEA credentials to Chief Investigator Josh Summerford and Investigator Jeremy Stepps. Secretary Taylor and Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) Director Kenneth Boswell commended the members being sworn-in and the participating Sheriffs and Police Chiefs for being part of the new endeavor. Sheriff Shaver also commended these investigators and said they were required to pass background checks conducted by the State Bureau of Investigation and both officers now have statewide arrest powers with the ALEA credentials.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office joined the Alabama Regional Drug Task Force in summer of 2017. The task force is a newly formed division of ALEA made up of 7 regions across Alabama. The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office is part of region F in the northern region of Alabama. The regional task force is governed by a board of law enforcement professionals and will provide guidance to the Regional Task Force. Sheriff Shaver is among the seven board members. The region F Task Force includes investigators and agents from the ALEA Narcotics Unit, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Payne Police Department, Cullman Police Department, Oneonta Police Department, and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Shaver stated, “We are proud to have been invited to participate in this newly formed group to help us combat illegal drug activity in Cherokee County.” Shaver added, “In addition to the seven investigators of our Investigation Division that are working drug crimes on a daily basis, this will give us access to more manpower and equipment from ALEA and other law enforcement agencies across the state.”
According to Chief Investigator Josh Summerford, the Sheriff’s Office received funding of approximately $25,000 for overtime and equipment, through ADECA as part of this cooperative effort between the Sheriff's Office, ALEA, and ADECA to fight drug crimes on a regional and state level.
Following the ceremony, Sheriff Shaver, Chief Summerford and Investigator Green, met with Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall in his office, to discuss current issues effecting law enforcement and new computer forensics technology being developed in the Attorney General’s Office.
According to Sheriff Shaver, the Sheriff’s Office plans to add an additional investigator to participate in the program in the near future.