Sheriff Curry appoints Fondren, George to command staff

By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry recently appointed two new captains to his command staff.

Capt. Jay Fondren was appointed division commander for corrections. Capt. Chris George was appointed division commander for investigations.

Fondren, a U.S. Air Force veteran, has a bachelors’ of science in criminal justice from UAB and graduates this fall from Troy University’s criminal justice masters’ program.

Fondren, who succeeds Stan Chapman, began his law enforcement career in 1996 with the Leeds Police Department and in 2006 joined the Pelham Police Department’s patrol division.

Bruno Event Team, a sports marketing and operations business in Birmingham, hired Fondren in 2007 as director of gameday operations for University of Alabama football and men’s basketball events.

Fondren joined the sheriff’s office in 2008 and has served in the patrol and criminal investigations divisions, as well as a crime scene investigator and crisis negotiator on the Tactical Response Unit.

George, a former U.S. Marine, has been with the sheriff’s office for 14 years.

George, who succeeds Mike Smitherman, has served in the corrections, uniform and criminal investigations divisions. Most recently, he was the commander of the Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force.

George is the commander of the sheriff’s Honor Guard and Tactical Response Unit. He has a bachelors’ of science in criminal justice and an MBA in public administration.

George is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy, U.S. Department Justice Leadership Academy and Leadership Shelby County.

Fondren and George join Chief Dep. John Samaniego, Capt. Ken Burchfield of the administration division and Capt. Chris Corbell of the uniform division on the sheriff’s command staff.

In addition to the appointments of Fondren and George, six sheriff’s employees were promoted.

Lt. Kevin Turner was promoted to commander of the drug enforcement task force. Turner, who began his law enforcement career as a dispatcher with the city of Montevallo, has worked for the sheriff’s office since 1997.

Sgt. Russell Bedsole, an 11-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was promoted to the administration division. He previously served on patrol, with a narcotics K9, and in investigations.

Sgt. Clay Hammac was promoted to the uniform division. A 7-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, his previous assignments included patrol deputy, criminal investigator and crisis negotiator.

Lt. Dennis Blackerby, a U.S. Navy veteran and 16-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was promoted to the corrections division.

Sgt. Tim Billingsley was promoted to the administration unit training division, and Sgt. Josh Forrest was promoted to the uniform division.