After almost three decades with the DeKalb County (Ala.) Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Jimmy Harris announced today at a specially called press conference in Fort Payne that he will not seek a fourth term.
“It is my singular honor to serve the citizens of DeKalb County,” said Sheriff Harris. “I cannot thank each and every deputy, clerk and correction officer enough. They have made this job a joy. I look forward to continuing to serve our citizens for the remainder of my term.”
Harris was first elected sheriff in 2006. His current term will draw to a close in January 2019.
He is a graduate of the National Sheriff’s Institute, Northeast Alabama Police Academy and Geraldine High School. Starting as a deputy at the sheriff’s department, he rose through the ranks and was promoted to lieutenant in 1995 and to captain in 2004.
While serving as a deputy, Harris organized the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Mounted Unit and served as its commander. He also established the “Cowboy Up, Say ‘Whoa’ to Drugs” program in conjunction with the national anti-drug program DARE.
As sheriff, Jimmy Harris implemented many programs including R-U-OK, Project Life Saver, Yellow Dot, Community Watch and Run Hide Fight. He started teaching the gun safety program “Eddie Eagle” to DeKalb County Schools grades Pre-K through Four. These programs are designed and implemented to improve and mend relations with the public and to keep the public informed of current events.
Sheriff Harris annually published his State of the Sheriff’s Office in newspapers throughout the county. A Citizens Academy was initiated to help the residents of DeKalb County understand what the sheriff’s office does, what the Child Advocacy Center, District Attorney’s office and the Drug Task Force do and how the these agencies work together with the Sheriff’s Office. After a new gun law was enacted, Sheriff Harris began a Basic Hand Gun Shooter Course instructing citizens on how to handle and manage a gun.
Since being elected and taking office as Sheriff in 2007, Sheriff Harris has partnered with the U.S. Marshal Service for the Joint Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force. Harris has also partnered with the FBI on the Safe Streets Task Force for years in DeKalb, Etowah and Marshall counties. At the DeKalb County Detention Center, contracts were signed with ICE, Immigration and the U.S. Marshal to house their federal inmates to help defray the costs of the construction bond issue and operation of the jail.
Sheriff Harris was voted the Best Police Officer in DeKalb County by the Times-Journal in 2006 and 2007. He was awarded the Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce Public Servant of the Year Award in 2009 and Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the Fort Payne Optimist Club in 2004.
Sheriff Harris is a member of the Alabama and National Sheriff’s associations, DeKalb County Courthouse Security Committee and the American Deputy Sheriff’s Association. He is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association of America and Fort Payne F.O.P. Lodge and chairman of the board of the DeKalb County Drug and Major Crimes Task Force.
He has been a member of the Geraldine Masonic Lodge since 1983 and is also a member of the Cahaba Shrine, a board member of the DeKalb County Children Policy Council, Northeast Alabama Community College Criminal Justice Advisory Board, State of Alabama Agriculture Advisory Commission, Outstanding Poultry Leader for the State of Alabama, Alabama Egg and Poultry Association and the Alabama Horse Council.
Sheriff Harris and his wife, Sabrina, are members of the Nazareth Baptist Church. They have two children, four grandchildren, and one great grandchild.