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Get to know Mark

Detective Sergeant Mark L. Pettway has diligently served as a law enforcement officer for over 25 years.  Pettway is a life-long Jefferson County resident who grew up in a working class neighborhood not far from Birmingham’s Legion Field Stadium. The son of the late Ed Pettway, Retired Army Sergeant First Class Officer, and the late Camilla Satisfield Pettway, Jefferson County school teacher, Mark began to excel as his parents provided him with something far greater than material wealth. Specifically, they instilled in him strong moral principles, a robust work ethic and a burning desire to excel. Given Mark’s ability to implement this rare yet useful combination of gifts, it is no surprise he learned the value of hard work and determination at an early age.

1991 marked the beginning of Pettway’s professional career at the Birmingham Police Department, where he served as a Correctional Specialist. In 1993, he joined the Fairfield Police Department as a police officer.  There he strengthened the law enforcement system by responding to calls, making arrests, issuing citations, and testifying in court cases.  In 1999, he joined the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy. In 2008, he was promoted to detective.  
Commendations received from Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale:

  • 2009 - successfully investigated a robbery/attempted murder case.

  • 2008 -  investigated a threat against Mr. Leo Wright and Commissioner Betty F. Collins.

  • 2008 - assisted Larimer County in the State of Colorado in a child sex abuse case.

  • 2006 - assisted in the lockdown of Minor High school and swiftly captured a trespasser with a handgun.

  • 2002 - swiftly captured and returned an escaped inmate back to the county jail. 

  • 2001 - quickly captured a bank robber at Colonial Bank and the return of stolen property.


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In 2012, Mark was selected as an IRS Task Force Officer, enforcing federals laws of money structuring, racketeering, money laundering and the Bank Secrecy Act.   Shortly after in 2013, Pettway was promoted to Detective Sergeant, a position which demanded an even greater amount of relentless dedication. At this point, Mark began to serve in the areas of criminal investigation, involving crimes of burglary, theft, and fraud.

Mark Pettway has proven himself to be a leader within the Jefferson County Sherriff Office, and within the region.  With over two decades of experience and strong relationships with law enforcement and government leaders, he has gained the trust and respect of local, state, and national criminal justice organizations.  He is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, Police Benevolent Association and a former member of the Law Enforcement Bicycle Association.

Mark Pettway is also a proponent of education, both in the classroom and on the job.  He holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Faulkner University, Montgomery, AL., and is a certified instructor at the Jefferson County Sheriff Apost Training Academy. Currently, Pettway teaches Cyber Crime and ID Theft education classes.

It is an undeniable fact that the Sheriff’s office should be transparent and accountable to the individuals the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office serves every day.  Given this, it becomes important and in fact necessary to shed light upon Mark’s vision for the future, which is based on over 25 years of law enforcement experience.


Protecting our Children in Schools

As Sheriff, Mark Pettway will ensure safe schools by advocating for enhanced equipment and increasing law enforcement's presence in our schools. He believes neither school administrators nor teachers should be responsible for using a weapon to protect our children; that's the job of law enforcement officers.

Community Policing

As Sheriff, Mark Pettway will see to it that law enforcement is visible in, accessible to, and works with the communities it serves. He believes transparency is needed to build the public's trust and will utilize new technology, such as street cameras and body cameras on patrol deputies, to promote transparency.

Criminal Justice Reform

As Sheriff, Mark Pettway will advocate for effective mentoring programs that will steer young people away from destructive behaviors and decisions.  He will implement programs in the jail that will allow inmates to earn a GED or High School Diploma and provide opportunities for them to learn a skilled trade, such as heating and air, plumbing or electrical trades.

Law Enforcement Training

As a Law Enforcement instructor, Mark Pettway knows that training is critical for our deputies to recognize and better address the needs of citizens suffering from mental illnesses and drug addictions. Nationally, we have witnessed instances when de-escalation training would have been beneficial. 


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Mark and his wife Vanessa have been married for 25 years and have two daughters, Markia and Gabrielle.  The Pettway’s have served for over 15 years as licensed staff ministers at their local church.