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Joint Terrorism Task Force

The Etowah County Sheriff's Office is proactively involved in homeland security and preparedness measures. In April 2008, Sheriff Todd Entrekin signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to assign a Sheriff's Investigator full time to the Northern Alabama Joint Terrorism Task Force (NAJTTF). The Joint Terrorism Task Force: chases down leads, gathers evidence, makes arrests, provides support for special events, conducts training, collect sand share intelligence, and responds to threats and incidents at a moment's notice.


The mission of the Northern Alabama Joint Terrorism Task Force is to prevent, detect, deter and investigate attacks perpetrated by domestic and international terrorists in the Northern District of Alabama. The NAJTTF investigates the activities of both international and domestic terrorist organizations. The Northern Alabama Joint Terrorism Task Force also investigates all criminal activities, including the acquisition and garnishment of funds, weapons, explosives, false identifications and other means undertaken by terrorists to function.

The Northern Alabama Joint Terrorism Task Force maintains liaisonship and works with local, state and federal agencies, as well as the private sector, to establish appropriate awareness to potential terrorist activity and responses to terrorist attacks. The local Joint Terrorism Task Force trains and exercises with local community first responders to ensure that all agencies are prepared to respond to an incident involving weapons of mass destruction.

FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force

 U.S. Department of Justice - Joint Terrorism Task Force


The task force concept is an excellent method of information sharing among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and other first responders. The Northern Alabama Joint Terrorism Task Force's membership is comprised of personnel from:

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Etowah County Sheriff's Office
  • Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
  • Shelby County Sheriff's Office
  • Hoover Police Department
  • Bessemer Police Department
  • Birmingham Police Department
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Police Department
  • Huntsville Police Department
  • Tuscaloosa Police Department
  • Northport Police Department
  • Alabama Department of Public Safety
  • Alabama State Alcoholic Beverage Control Board
  • United States Secret Service
  • United States Customs Service
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
  • 902nd Military Intelligence Group

The Joint Terrorism Task Force in Northern Alabama is one of over 100 JTTF's nationwide. These Joint Terrorism Task Force's are also connected to almost 80 other FBI Offices called Legal Attaches', located outside the United States throughout foreign countries worldwide.

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The members of the Northern Alabama Joint Terrorism Task Force operate out of the FBI Birmingham Field Division Office and Resident Agencies located in Gadsden, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, and Florence. Etowah County Sheriff's Office personnel are assigned to the Gadsden Resident Agency which serves Etowah, Calhoun, Cherokee, DeKalb, Marshal, Blount, St. Clair, Talladega, Cleburne, and Clay counties in Northeast Alabama. While these are the primary areas of responsibility for the Northern Alabama Joint Terrorism Task Force, their investigations often reach not only locally, but throughout the nation, and worldwide.

FBI - Birmingham, AL


The Etowah County Sheriff's investigator on the Joint Terrorism Task Force conducts investigations and operations with the authority of a federal agent by being deputized as a Special Deputy United States Marshal. Pursuant to Title 28, Federal Code of Regulations, the U.S. Marshals Service is authorized to deputize federal, state, and local law enforcement officers operating in support of a federal task force.

Special Deputation Appointment from the United States Marshals Service is given under authority delegated by the U.S. Attorney General to perform duties of the Office of Special Deputy United States Marshal. This commission provides Etowah County Investigator's federal authority to seek and execute arrest and search warrants supporting the Northern Alabama Joint Terrorism Task Force.


In addition to investigating potential terrorism and terrorism cases, the Joint Terrorism Task Force is charged with the mission to prevent, detect, and deter terrorism. To accomplish this, JTTF investigators operate within several special programs and initiatives. These efforts focus on the front lines by strengthening partnerships and communication within local communities through liaisonship with business, industry, academia, other law enforcement entities, and public safety organizations.

What Is Terrorism?
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The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines terrorism as the "unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives." Terrorist threats to the American people can be found both domestically, within the United States as well as internationally, around the world.

High profile acts of terrorism include bombings, kidnapping or hostage taking, armed attacks and assassinations, arsons, fire bombings, hijackings, skyjackings, and other violent acts.

Terrorism can also be seen through less violent means. These include extortion, embezzlement, and other financial crimes to financially support terrorist operations. Cyber terrorism is a method that terrorist may use to communicate, recruit, and radicalize. Further, cyber terrorism may also be used to disrupt or destroy computer networks to interrupt business or government related activities.

How Can You Help?

To Report Suspicious Domestic or International Terrorism Activity Contact:
Etowah County Sheriff's Office Joint Terrorism Task Force:
Investigator Randal Gilliland
Phone: 256-547-0522 (Gadsden FBI)
E-mail: rgilliland@etowahcounty.org or randal.gilliland@ic.fbi.gov

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