Jasper’s animal control officer earns certification

Ed Howell
Posted 10/2/17

Jasper’s animal control officer at the Jasper Police Department received certification after receiving training recently.

Matthew Lockhart received 40 hours of animal control training recently …

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Jasper’s animal control officer earns certification

Posted

Jasper’s animal control officer at the Jasper Police Department received certification after receiving training recently.

Matthew Lockhart received 40 hours of animal control training recently at the Cullman County Emergency Management Agency. The American Animal Cruelty Investigation School (AACIS) put on the training, and awarded him a Sept. 22 certificate noting he has basic certification as an animal control officer.

The training was spread over a four-day period earlier this month, said Lockhart, who is the only animal control officer for the city.

Lockhart, 21, graduated from Walker High School in Jasper in 2014. He has served as the animal control officer for approximately a year and a half, although he joined Jasper police as a jailer about two and a half years ago.

Jasper police had not had an animal control officer for a number of years before Lockhart, as it had been handled for a while by the Street Department, Jasper Police Chief J.C. Poe said. When the officer in the Street Department retired, the position was switched back to Jasper police.

“We sent him to a few little seminars and a few days of training, but this is the most significant training we have sent him to,” Poe said.

Jasper Mayor David O’Mary said, “Animal control is a challenging endeavor in municipal government. We haven’t provided enough city training for Matt, so I’m very pleased that Matt is willing to get his certification as an animal control officer, and we’ll see some benefits from this training.” 

According the AACIS website, aacisonline.com, “AACIS invests its resources accordingly to stay on the leading edge of investigative techniques and training methods for the purpose of professionalizing animal cruelty investigations.” The organization said it has established standards for basic and advanced training programs for law enforcement and animal control professionals who conduct animal cruelty investigations.

AACIS said it trains hundreds of officers and agencies every year, saying that its training has had “a positive impact on our society's ability to investigate and prosecute crimes of animal cruelty.”

The curriculum development team included law enforcement officers, animal control officers, crime scene investigators, attorneys and veterinarians, who created four courses, AACIS said on the site.

“These courses were developed based on the actual duties and tasks performed by animal cruelty investigators throughout the United States. They are designed to provide instruction in the procedures for investigating incidents of animal cruelty, including crime scene processing, legal considerations and procedures, evaluating animal welfare and field operations.”