CPD has a new patrolman

Published 1:14 pm Thursday, January 4, 2018


“Oh, man, it felt great! It felt great. All that hard work, and I was like it finally paid off now,” Clanton Police Department’s newest patrolman Joseph Smitherman recalled his recent graduation from the Alabama Criminal Justice Training Center in Selma.

The Clanton native graduated from the police academy with flying colors and was honored with his graduating Class 160 with a ceremony at the academy on Dec. 7.

“I have arrest powers and everything,” Smitherman said with a smile.

Now, it is Smitherman’s duty to protect the residents of Clanton from crime.

Smitherman kicked off his law enforcement career after a unique connection slid him in to ride-along deputy work. Smitherman said his son’s baseball coach, Britton Langston, was a member of the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Reserve Board and had suggested Smitherman submit a resume to CCSO.

Smitherman was hired, and then was later hired for employment at the Chilton County Jail.

During his time with CCSO, Smitherman said several key individuals influenced his climb to police work.

“My buddy Edwin Freeman and Cpl. Corry McCartney — they inspire me a lot, just seeing what they do,” he said. “They’re hands on and always trying to help people out. I look up to them for that. That’s the type of officer I want to be.”

At first, Smitherman’s parents and siblings were not supportive of his dreams to be in law enforcement. As the youngest child of his parents, Smitherman described his family as being “very protective” of him.

“So finally, when the City of Clanton started hiring, I put in my application, I got hired on … and now after that, they actually love it now,” Smitherman said of his family. “They support me 100 percent.”

Smitherman said his family, including his wife and three small children, attended his police academy graduation ceremony — along with several CPD officials.

“My chief, my captain — all of them came, and they supported me,” Smitherman said. “That was a good moment.”

Smitherman said graduating the police academy requires specific passing scores in several key areas: “legals,” which included courtroom procedures and criminal law with an emphasis on the fourth, fifth and sixth amendments, firing range and first aid.

“Other than that, everything was basically just for fun,” Smitherman said.

Smitherman said he sometimes misses training.

Night pursuit training was a favorite.

“You have to chase these suspects, and you’re in these cones, and your blue lights are going,” he said. “It was just real fun.”

Although he began as a daytime patrolman with CPD, Smitherman became a permanent nighttime patrolman on Jan. 4. His shifts are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for 14 days each month.

“It’s going to take some getting used to,” he said.

Smitherman said being a patrolman “takes a lot to get used to,” but that “it’s actually going pretty fun.”

His wife and children have remained his biggest fans.

“Definitely my kids,” Smitherman said. “They’re excited to see me all the time, and I’m glad I get to come home to them each and every night.”