Blue Watch Spotlight
This quarter we will feature retired Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes. We recently sat down with Sheriff Hughes and asked him a few questions.
Tell us about your law enforcement career and why you decided to pursue it.
I would have to say that my law enforcement career was predestined. I was born in a Salvation Army Home for unwed mothers in Birmingham. Six months later, I was adopted by a Dothan Police Department detective and his wife, Billy Ray and Marie Hughes. Even though both have gone on to heaven I still thank God every day for the kind, loving, Godly parents that he gave me.
My father and many of his fellow officers were a huge influence upon me, and anybody who knew me as I was growing up realized I was going to be a law enforcement officer. My father encouraged me to explore other career options as I got older, but I always came back to law enforcement. In 1986 at the age of 18, I was hired as a dispatcher with the Houston County Sheriff’s Office. I later worked in the county jail as a corrections officer and was sworn in as a deputy sheriff in December 1988. As a deputy, I worked in patrol and narcotics divisions prior to accepting a job as a patrol officer with the Dothan Police Department in 1990. I was promoted to Corporal in 1992 and to Sergeant in 1994. While at the Dothan PD, I served in the Patrol Division, Vice/Intelligence Division, and the Special Operations Division.
In 2006, I ran for Sheriff of Houston County and won and re-elected to a second term in 2010. In 2014, I was unopposed in the Sheriff’s race but decided to accept an offer to be appointed as an Assistant Director for Homeland Security with the newly created Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. During my tenure at ALEA, I served as the Chief of Tactical Operations, commanding the statewide SWAT team, Aviation Unit and Bomb Team (EOD).
After a 30-year career in law enforcement I retired in 2016. I was very fortunate to have had the law enforcement career that I did and to experience the many different aspects of the job, the highs and the lows, the good and the bad and I still miss it every day.
What role does faith play in your life and why is it important for those in law enforcement?
As far as faith goes, I really don’t see how anyone without faith in God can do the job as a law enforcement officer. Cops see so many bad things, so much violence, so many dead people and lots of people in desperate situations. There has to be a tremendous feeling of faith, hope and encouragement within a LEO’s heart and they should exude that to everyone that they come in contact with whether on or off duty.
Faith plays a tremendous role in my life, I put 100% of my faith in God and I realize that even with all of the bad stuff going on in our world right now it is all part of his plan, and as you should know, Christians are victorious at the end of the story. Just because we know all of this bad stuff is part of his plan doesn’t mean that we should just sit back on our heels as the world spins away. As LEO’s it is our job to be “A Minister of God to thee for good” (Romans 13:4). According to scripture it is also our job to “Bear the Sword” when someone “doeth that which is evil”.
A lot of the general public, media and even cops have gotten so caught up in the thought that cops should or shouldn’t be warriors but rather should be guardians. It is my opinion that if you’re a good cop then you should have the ability to be a warrior, a guardian, a peacemaker and a public servant and you should have the ability to transition between these roles multiple times during your shift. The public that we serve should also be able to expect this from their LEO’s.
Our country is currently in a crisis, actually many crises, but the main one I’m speaking of is the recruitment and retention of quality law enforcement personnel. As current and retired LEO’s we’ve got to stop saying, “I wouldn’t encourage anybody to get into law enforcement these days”. I’ve recently developed a presentation that was inspired by the Lord. Its titled “Bear the Sword” and its purpose is to inspire future generations of law enforcement officers and law enforcement leadership.
Why is the mission of Blue Watch and other like- minded organizations important?
Blue Watch and other faith-based organizations serve a vital role in supporting law enforcement officers and their families. As cops it’s easy to forget that we’re appreciated and that we serve a vital role in maintaining law and order, keeping the peace, bringing criminals to justice and saving lives. If law enforcement fails, our society would fall.
Blue Watch intends to always make sure LEO’s hear that message loud and clear. Blue Watch is instrumental in providing free or low-cost training to LEO’s throughout the state of Alabama and beyond our borders. Blue Watch also provides other sources of assistance to LEO’s in need. I really appreciate Burke Swearingen and his vision for Blue Watch, and I also appreciate Burke for letting me be a small part of what Blue Watch does on a daily basis.
Look at What’s Coming Up!
Rescheduled for August 25 – SOLD OUT!
Strategic Leadership Series “Increasing Your Effectiveness in Law Enforcement”
Hosted by the Ashland Police Department
8 Hours APOST Credits Awarded
For more information, go to the event page.
Fall Training Seminars
Excited to announce the expansion of our fall training. Blue Watch, in cooperation with Strong Blue Line Seminars, presents the following:
October 3 and 5: “Winning A Gunfight”
October 3 – Dothan
October 5 – Birmingham
October 4: “Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Training”
Vestavia Hills, hosted by Vestavia Police Department
October 6: “Suicide is Not an Option”
Florence, hosted by Florence Police Department
All sessions qualify for APOST credits. More details to be released in the coming weeks. Registration scheduled to open in August.
Order Your Books Today – NO COST to You
Blue Watch wants officers to have a clear mind and a whole heart. On our website we offer resources that we believe will help them. Currently we offer the following books:
- “Winning A Gunfight…securing victory ethically, mentally and tactfully in a gunfight”: There is much more to winning a gunfight than just physically surviving. Most who are in gunfights survive but may not win. Learn the difference and how you can survive and win.
- “Suicide Is Not an Option”: Each year 2.5-3 times more officers take their own life than are murdered in the line of duty. Despite the efforts of many, the suicide rate amongst law enforcement officers continues to rise. Retired police sergeant and author, Tim Rupp explores the spiritual aspects and argues there is meaning to life beyond the individual.
- “Courageous Living Bible Study”: This is a four-session bible Study designed to challenge you to live courageously for the sake of your family. Based upon the movie “Courageous” session topics include fighting for your family, valuing what matters most, impacting future generations and standing for Christ.
To order your FREE copies, visit the Book Giveaway page.
Once you have read it, please share with us your thoughts, good or bad, and we hope you will pass the book to a fellow officer.
We Want to Hear From You!
Blue Watch is here to serve the law enforcement community and its families. We want to hear from you because we want to offer services that you need. The people of Alabama support their officers and they stand ready to help.
There are many ways to support the Blue Watch mission:
- Pray – we need prayer warriors who will pray for us on an ongoing basis and at special events.
- Volunteer – we are in need of people who will help manage our website, social media and other aspects of the ministry. If the mission of Blue Watch is of interest to you and you have a skillset to offer, consider Blue Watch.
- Donate – it takes money to make all of this happen. The Lord greatly blessed us in 2021, but to continue our progress will require increased giving. You can give online or by check.
If any of these are of interest to you, please email us at email@example.com.
Support the Mission
Please prayerfully consider making a financial contribution to Blue Watch. It is through the faithful giving of many across the state that has made all we have done possible, and to continue the mission, will require greater community support.
If you feel led to support, you can donate by visiting our website and clicking the “Donate” button or by making a check payable to Blue Watch and mailing to 2620 Swiss Lane, Birmingham, AL 35226.
Blue Watch is a 501c(3) non-profit. All donations are tax deductible.
The mission of Blue Watch is to help officers and their families experience the relevance and benefits of God in their lives.