Law enforcement careers in Alabama are handled by the Alabama Department of Public Safety, in Montgomery, Alabama, which oversees the following state-wide law enforcement agencies:
Alabama Highway Patrol
The Alabama Highway Patrol, which was founded in 1935, is a full-service, statewide law enforcement agency. In 2009, the Alabama Highway Patrol dealt with 775 fatal crashes and 849 deaths.
The director and assistant director of the Alabama Highway Patrol are appointed by the governor, and all state trooper training in Alabama includes, at a minimum, a high school diploma or GED; a current Alabama driver’s licenses; and all qualifications of the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission.
All candidates for state trooper jobs Alabama and in the Alabama Highway Patrol must: pass a written examination; pass a physical ability/agility test; pass a personal interview; undergo an in-depth background examination, which includes a polygraph examination and a drug screening; and a medical examination. Further, all troopers-in-training must complete a course of instruction through the Alabama Criminal Justice Training Center in Selma.
Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI)
The Alabama Bureau of Investigation opened 684 criminal investigations and generated 831 intelligence reports in FY2010. Investigations through the ABI led to 490 arrests in during the same period. The ABI seized more than $13 million in drugs in FY2010, recovered 19 vehicles, and seized 23 weapons.
The ABI operates four ABI Regions eight ABI Areas across the state; all Regions are under the command of a captain, and all Areas are under the supervision of a lieutenant. All ABI offices across the states are generally located near Highway Patrol Operations and the ABI headquarters are located in the Alabama Department of Public Safety headquarters complex in Montgomery, Alabama.
Hazardous Devices and Technical Services Unit
The Hazardous Devices and Technical Services Unit, one of the ABI’s specialized units, features 6 highly trained state trooper jobs in Alabama with expertise in hazardous situations. Their training includes 11 weeks of intensive bomb training and post-blast training, as well as training throughout the year. Some agents also receive an additional 6 weeks of training as K-9 handlers and/or electronic surveillance experts. Currently, the Hazardous Devices and Technical Services Unit includes 6 certified bomb technicians and 3 explosive K-9 handlers.
Criminal Investigation Support Group
The Criminal Investigation Support Group in Alabama, which is part of the ABI, is made up of approximately 65 criminal analysts, investigative technicians, and arresting officers who assist state, local, and federal law enforcement officers throughout case development. There are also seven polygraph examiners, all of whom conducted 181 polygraph examinations during FY2010.
The CISG provides information to officers for the identification and location of suspects and witnesses in criminal cases, and they conduct investigations and provide investigative support. During FY2010, the CISG processed nearly 36,000 record checks, which include situation awareness and intelligence reports.
The CISG works alongside a number of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in Alabama and throughout the United States, including:
- Sex Offender Registry
- Latent Print Unit
- Internet Crimes Against Children
- Identification Unit
- Dive Team
- Community Information Center
- Bomb Squad
- Alabama Missing Senior Alert
- Alabama Fusion Center
- Alabama Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Municipal Police Departments in Alabama
The Birmingham, Alabama, Police Department has four precincts (North, South, East, and West) and four divisions (Administrative, Detective, Field Operations, and Support Services).
The Police Department has a number of entry requirements for all Birmingham Police officers. In particular, all Police Officers must be U.S. citizens; they must be at least 21 years old; they must have a valid high school diploma or GED; they must have a valid Alabama driver’s license; they must have no felony convictions; and they must have passed a physical examination. All Birmingham Police Officers must pass a written civil services examination, a physical fitness screening, a polygraph examination, a physical examination, psychological screening, and a background investigation.
The Montgomery Police Department, which as 524 police offer jobs in Montgomery and 200 civilian employees, serves 202,000 citizens and more than 150,000 daily visitors, has a number of Divisions:
- Administrative Division
- Criminal Investigation Division
- Municipal Jail Division
- Patrol Division
- Special Operations Division
- Traffic Division
- Training and Recruiting Division
All individuals applying for a Montgomery Police Officer position must have the following police officer training in Montgomery: they must be at least 19 years of age; they must have a high school diploma or GED; and they must have a valid driver’s license in Alabama.
The Mobile, Alabama, Police Department has 5 precincts and 46 smaller units called beats, which are patrolled by members of the Field Operations Division, and each precinct is commanded by a captain under the major of the Field Operations Division. There are more than 500 police officers jobs in Mobile.
The Mobile Police Department operates two Police Academy classes each year. All applicants must first apply through the Mobile County Personnel Board.
Huntsville, Alabama, is 213 square miles in size, and it has 3 police precincts, 394 police officer jobs in Huntsville, and a population of about 180,000. Before applicants can be admitted into the Huntsville Police Academy they must meet minimum entry requirements, which include: U.S. citizen; at least 20 years old; a valid Alabama driver’s license; and a high school diploma or GED. All applicants must pass an interview board, a drug screening, a medical examination, and a polygraph examination.
County Sheriff’s Departments in Alabama
Within the large cities of Alabama are Alabama’s largest counties:
Jefferson County includes two decentralized patrols, with 123 personnel located in Birmingham and 46 located in Bessemer. The Sheriff’s Office in Jefferson County, Alabama, is responsible for enforcing all state and federal laws involving criminal offenses. Divisions within the Sheriff’s Office in Jefferson County include:
- Motor Scouts
- Bomb Squad
- Canine Unit
- Crisis Negotiation Team
- Animal Cruelty Specialists
- Trick Weighing Unit
- Honor Guard
- Computer Forensics
- Convicted Sex Offender Investigator Unit
- Cold Case Unit
- Vice and Narcotics Unit
- Terrorism Unit
- Highway Traffic Safety Unit
The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office is the second largest in the state of Alabama, with a staff of more than 600. The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office serves more than 400,000 residents and patrols more than 1,200 square miles.
The Divisions of the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office include: Administrative Services, Field Operations, Support Services, and Correction.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office covers an area of 844 square miles and includes 112 full-time sworn Deputies, 191 full-time Correctional Officers, and a support staff of 374. The Madison County Sheriff’s Office provides 24-hour patrol and response operations and a full Criminal and Narcotics and Investigations Division. The Madison County Sheriff’s Office covers a ten-county region and is a point of contact for the State of Alabama Department of Homeland Defense.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office includes four divisions:
- Administrative Division – Includes traffic, training, and school and community involvement
- Investigation Division – Includes Special Operations, Narcotics, Crime Scenes, and Crimes Against Persons and Property
- Legal Services Division – Includes court security, civil process, probate transport, and warrants
- Patrol Division – Includes K-9, First Shift Patrol, Second Shift Patrol, and Third Shift Patrol
- Mac Sim Butler Detention Facility
Alabama Law Enforcement Salaries
The Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition, published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, reports that the median salary in 2010 among police and detectives in Alabama was $55,010.
It also provides more detailed salary information regarding specific law enforcement occupations in the state:
- Detectives and Criminal Investigators: $68,820
- Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers: $53,540
Salaries for Detectives and Criminal Investigators throughout Alabama
Police Officer and Sheriff Salary in Alabama
The largest salary variance among law enforcement professionals in Alabama is found at the municipal level, as these salaries depend mostly on the size of the locality and the budgetary allowance. For example, the Birmingham Police Department provides offers following entry-level salary structure to new recruits:
- High school diploma/GED: $35,609.60
- Associate degree: $37,356.80
- Bachelor degree or higher: $39,270.40
Likewise, the City of Montgomery offers a general salary range between $36,534 and $45,573 to its police officers and $35,403 during academy training.
Salaries for Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers throughout Alabama
State Trooper Salary in Alabama
In September of 2008, the Alabama Department of Public Safety outlined its pay structure for Alabama State Troopers in a step-by-step ranking system:
In Alabama, entry-level state troopers are paid at level 1, which is an annual salary of $35,589.60. Those with an associate degree are started at level 2 and those with a bachelor degree at level 4. After a 1-year probationary period, Alabama State Troopers are considered for a one or two-step pay raise. The remainder of the pay levels can be achieved based on performance.
Salaries for Police Supervisors and Detectives throughout Alabama