About Your Sheriff

Sheriff Headshot 2021

Sheriff John Samaniego was elected as the Sheriff of Shelby County in 2014 for his first term, and took office on January 20, 2015. He was re-elected for his second term, which began on January 14, 2019. Sheriff Samaniego currently serves the 212,000 citizens of Shelby County, AL, as the chief law enforcement officer of the county, and is responsible for the management of operational and administrative needs of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office to include a 550 plus bed jail facility and over 240 employees. Sheriff Samaniego is responsible for the management and allocation of public safety resources and services from the $22 million annual Sheriff’s Office budget. He has a broad range of experience in administration, management, budgeting, grant management, and grant procurement.

Beginning his law enforcement service over 40 years ago, after graduating from the University of Alabama, John worked for the Tuscaloosa Police Department where he dedicated more than 20 years to Narcotics Investigations before being promoted to Assistant Chief of Police of the Tuscaloosa Police Department. He first came to Shelby County as the Chief Deputy of the Sheriff’s Office in 2003, and he served in this capacity until he was elected to the office of Sheriff in 2014. In his 40+ years in law enforcement, over 25 years of this experience has been in supervisory and command-level roles.

Sheriff Samaniego holds a Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law and a Bachelor of Science in Social Work, with a concentration in Criminal Justice, from the University of Alabama. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama Law Enforcement Academy and the 176th Session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA. 

Sheriff Samaniego has numerous former and present professional positions and memberships with the following organizations:

Appointee, President’s Commission on Law Enforcement, Administration of Justice (2020)

Board Member of Shelby County Community Corrections (2015–present)

Elected to Board of Directors for State of Alabama, ROCIC (2012-present)

District Vice-President, Alabama Peace Officers Association (2012-present)

Charter member of the Alabama Narcotics Officers Association (1983-present)

Owens House of Shelby County (Chairman 2013-2015) (President 2015-2020)

President of the Alabama Chapter of the FBI National Academy (2005-2007)

Commissioner of the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (1997-2007)

Tuscaloosa County Drug Court (1999-2003)

Executive Planning Committee for Alabama Schools for Alcohol and other drug studies (1995-2003)

Past State President of the Alabama Fraternal Order of Police (1997-2001)

Parent Resource Institute for Drug Education (1991 - 2001)

President of Partnership for a Drug Free Tuscaloosa County (1996-1998)

Appointed member of the Governor’s Commission on School Violence (1993-1994)

Sheriff Samaniego also has numerous professional trainings and academy graduations, including the following:

Graduate of the National Sheriff’s Institute, class 114 (2018)

Graduate of the FBI National Executive Institute, 40th session (2017)

Graduate of the US Secret Service Executive Protection School (2008)

Graduate of the CEO Training, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (2000)

Graduate of the DEA Drug Commanders Academy, 17th session (1996)

Graduate of the FBI National Academy, 176th session (1994)

Graduate of the University of Alabama Law Enforcement Academy (1977)