Crenshaw investigators graduate state-certified academy

Published 12:58 am Thursday, December 29, 2022

Two Crenshaw County Sheriff’s investigators, Lts. Thomas Strickland and Chris Stewart, graduated from the Fifth Session of the Alabama Investigators Academy on Dec. 7.

The training, hosted by the Center for Best Practices in Law Enforcement at Jacksonville State University, consisted of 80 classroom hours, divided into four months, during which the two Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission-certified officers became state-certified investigators.

“It’s kind of like getting a driver’s license,” said Crenshaw County Sheriff Terry Mears. “You don’t want somebody out there who doesn’t know how to drive. Our investigators went through a series of tests and on-the-job training, which makes them better at what they do.”

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During the training, investigators received specialized training topics like crime scene procedures, death investigation, interviewing techniques, criminal law procedures, case file preparation, and courtroom testimony.

“It definitely gives the investigator more value if he wants to further his career into the state or federal levels,” Stewart said. “The training also helps us serve the community. We learned new things, like how to take advantage of camera techniques which capture a clearer picture of the crime scene and evidence.”

Alabama is only the second state to form a state-certified investigators academy, Stewart said. Instruction is provided by national experts in each field and led by JSU Department of Criminal Justice and Forensic Investigation faculty.

“These are the same classes some State Bureau of Investigations guys go through,” Mears said. “I want to be able to offer the citizens of Crenshaw County a much better product by having trained people.”

District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer supported the officer’s training.

“I am very proud of them for being interested in and completing the training,” Tesmer said. “We do everything we can to support our law enforcement officers.”