Ronald Stewart Abernathy has earned the respect of his peers being hired at the bottom rank and though his experience and leadership rising to the highest ranking deputy in the Sheriff's Office. Hired by Sheriff Beasor Walker on November 17, 1988 as a detention officer he learned firsthand the various aspects of jail operations. On April 21, 1993, Sheriff Edmund M. Sexton hired Ronald Abernathy as a Civil Service Deputy Sheriff. In that position he worked assignments in Custody/Detention, Patrol and Criminal Investigations. On July 1, 1997, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and assigned to shift commander of midnight shift patrol division. While still a Sergeant, he was transferred to head the Sheriff's Business Office and Communications Division. On January 4, 1999, Ron was once again promoted to the rank of Lieutenant continuing his previous assigned duties. On February 12, 1999, Ronald Stewart Abernathy was appointed by Sheriff Sexton as Chief Deputy of the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office citing his experience, education, leadership skills, initiative and proven ability to manage the operations and personnel of the Sheriff's Office.
Chief Abernathy is responsible for the daily operations of the Sheriff's Office and due to his technological expertise has directly supervised several key initiatives including a system wide upgrade of the computer aided dispatch system, implementation of mobile data terminals, digital video recorders in all patrol vehicles and is currently charged with the responsibility of implementing a county wide digital radio system that will become operational within the next year. As Chief Deputy he manages an office with approximately 15 million dollar budget which has seen deputy activity increase by over 551% and the jail populations by over 500% since 1991 while maintaining clearance rates above the national average, Chief Deputy Abernathy has worked aggressively to bring the highest level of education, training, and professionalism not only to those directly under his command, but also to law enforcement officials throughout the area. Chief Abernathy serves as the Team Leader for the Alabama Homeland Security Region 3 Law Enforcement Team. The Sheriff's Office is the primary agency for the State of Alabama Region 3 Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Response Team, which has responded to five hurricanes and numerous other incidents.
Lifetime resident of Tuscaloosa County and graduate of The University of Alabama, Chief Abernathy also served in the United States Army. He is a graduate of the distinguished FBI National Academy and the Leadership Tuscaloosa program and currently serves on the board of the YMCA. He has attended numerous seminars and specialty training schools, including U.S. Secret Service Protective Operations, Intermediate and Advanced ICS, Counterdrug Special Weapons and Tactics, Criminal Justice Management Information Executive Development Series Part III and various Terrorism and Homeland Security Training Programs on behalf of the Sheriff's Office. Chief Abernathy has received several awards including 2006 Tuscaloosa County Officer of the Year Award, 2003 Mental Health Community Excellence Award and numerous Sheriff's Certificate of Merit Awards. Sheriff Abernathy was elected Sheriff of Tuscaloosa County Nov. 2014.
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