Sheriff James 'Al' Cannon earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from the College of Charleston, a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of South Carolina, and a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of South Carolina. He is a member of the South Carolina Bar and the United States Supreme Court Bar. In 2012, Sheriff Cannon celebrated his 30th Anniversary of admission to the South Carolina Bar. He is graduated of the FBI National Academy and the FBI National Executive Institute. He possesses a top secret security clearance.

In 2006, he retired from the U. S. Air Force Reserves at the rank of Colonel after 29 years of service. In his last assignment, he served as Reserve Commander of the 3rd Field Investigations Region, (AFOSI), Scott AFB, Illinois which provided investigative, counterintelligence and counterterrorism support to the fifteen USAF AMC bases located throughout the US. Colonel Cannon was deployed to many sites around the world in a counterterrorism role with command authority over the security of deployed personnel. He became recognized by his peers as an expert in counterterrorism. Cannon also served 4 years on active duty as a Russian translator stationed at Templehof Air Base, West Berlin during the height of the Cold War.

Sheriff Cannon is married to Wallis Baldwin formerly of Sumter, South Carolina. They have two children, James III (married to Alison Cordell) and Sara (married to Major Ryan Hanson). They are the proud grandparents of four grandsons, Jac Cannon IV, Rhett Cannon, Bradshaw Hanson and Shepard Hanson, and one granddaughter, Emma Hanson. They are members of St. John's Lutheran Church in Charleston, SC.

Sheriff Cannon's career in law enforcement began in 1971 when he became a patrolman for the Charleston County Police Department. He later worked as a police officer for the North Charleston Police Department rising through the ranks to Lieutenant before resigning in 1979 to enter the University Of South Carolina School Of Law. Cannon and his family returned to Charleston where he practiced law for a period serving as a Charleston County Deputy County Attorney. In March 1984, Cannon was appointed Chief of the North Charleston Police Department where he served until August 1987. He worked a short time as a Captain for the Charleston City Police Department but resigned that position in October, 1987 to run for Sheriff of Charleston County.

Sheriff Cannon is a unique individual in that he is a trained attorney, a military leader and veteran law enforcement professional. His knowledge and experiences have given him valuable insight into the many threats we face today, and he is often called on for advice and counsel.

Sheriff Cannon is credited with successfully merging the Charleston County Police Department and the Charleston County Sheriff's Office in January of 1991. He is an innovative and dedicated sheriff who uses his considerable talents and outstanding professional skills to benefit the citizens of Charleston County. He is known to be an excellent administrator who has molded the Charleston County Sheriff's Office into one of the premier law enforcement agencies in the country. Known for speaking his mind, Sheriff Al Cannon has a well-deserved reputation for honesty and integrity.

Sheriff Cannon was nominated by the Major County Sheriff's Association in September to replace Sheriff Rich Stanek , Hennepin County Sheriff's Office (Minneapolis) on the National Domestic Communication National Domestic Communications Assistance Center - Executive Advisory Board, and United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions approved his membership on February 21, 2017.

Professional Organizations

Sheriff Cannon is Air Force Association-Life Member, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Honorary Board Member, member of Charleston County Bar, South Carolina Bar and American Bar Association, United States Supreme Court Bar, South Carolina Sheriffs' Association, National Sheriffs' Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)- Life Member, FBI National Academy Associates, MENSA, Diversity Leadership Academy ? Furman University, and a Life Member of the National Rifle Association. He is affiliated with FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association, Military Order of The World Wars, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Masons, National Sojourners, VFW- Life Member, American Correctional Association, and the American Jail Association.

Professional Recognition

During the course of Sheriff Cannon's law enforcement career, he has received a number of awards which includes U.S. Chamber of Commerce "Outstanding Young Men of America", AFOSI District 21 "Outstanding Reserve Officer of the Year", Strom Thurmond Award of Excellence in Law Enforcement, Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement (CALEA) Initial accreditation, Executive of the Year for International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), Selected South Carolina "Sheriff of the Year", President of the South Carolina Sheriff's Association, United States Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award, and the Citadel Republican Society Nathan Hale Patriot Award.



The Charleston County Sheriff's Office is one of less than 40 to have received the Triple Crown Award for accreditation. This prestigious award recognizes agencies that have achieved accreditation from three separate accreditation agencies: Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), the American Correctional Association (ACA), and the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare (NCCHC).

Assistant Sheriff of Charleston County

Mitch became the Assistant Sheriff of the largest Sheriff's Office in South Carolina in 2012. He helped manage the Sheriff's Office 950 employees and its annual budget of over $70 million dollars. Before being appointed to Assistant Sheriff by Sheriff Cannon, he was Chief Deputy Jail Administrator. The Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center is a modernized correctional facility with over 2000 beds capacity. Charleston County has long been accredited by CALEA and NCCHC, and in 2013 the jail attained ACA accreditation, which allowed Sheriff Cannon to receive the Triple Crown Award from the National Sheriffs Association.

Mitch is currently the President of the American Jail Association, where he has worked on PREA, FCC regulations and other important corrections related legislation. He has presented at a number of state and national conferences and served as a consultant for the National Institute of Corrections. Mitch has received a number of professional awards, including being named the 2012 Jail Administrator of the Year by the South Carolina Jail Administrators Association.

New Recruitment Strategy

In January 2016, the Charleston County Sheriff's Office created its first Recruitment Unit to help enhance its recruiting efforts for law enforcement and the detention center. A Deputy Sheriff and a Detention Deputy were selected to focus on their own perspective departments. However, to improve our recruitment efforts both positions were assigned to work under the Sheriff's Office Community and Public Relations Unit to accomplish one main objective, "to recruit quality law enforcement and detention candidates.

The Sheriff's Office recruitment team developed an aggressive business recruitment model that consist of making speaking / public appearances at community events, using digital marketing and social media strategies that are typically used by commercial businesses.

Beyond attending job fairs throughout South Carolina and other states, the Sheriff's Office recruitment team is becoming familiar faces at local colleges and universities making presentations to criminal justice classes, social clubs, and organizing on-campus static displays showcasing career opportunities at the Sheriff's Office. These methods have introduced hundreds of potential applicants to the Charleston County Sheriff's Office.

Copyright 2018. Major County Sheriffs of America. All rights reserved.
Site Sponsored by Harris Corporation
Web Site Services:
Dogwood Productions, Inc.