Key took winding path to law enforcement

By JENNIFER COHRON
Posted 5/10/19

Editor's note: This is the second in a three-part series on three new sergeants at the Walker County Sheriff's Office.Josh Key worked in several fields before settling into a career in law …

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Key took winding path to law enforcement

Posted

Editor's note: This is the second in a three-part series on three new sergeants at the Walker County Sheriff's Office.


Josh Key worked in several fields before settling into a career in law enforcement. 

"I felt like I had a calling to help people, and I wanted to see all aspects of public service. I by far love this the best," said Key, who was recently promoted to sergeant of the evening shift at Walker County Sheriff's Office.

Key first worked as a paramedic before making the move to firefighting. He was a volunteer firefighter in Boldo and worked at the fire department located on-site at U.S. Steel in Birmingham.

In 2015, Key took a full-time position at the sheriff's department, where he had been a reserve officer since 2005. 

Today, Key heads up the reserve program, is a member of the SWAT team and is one-half of the department's narcotics K-9 unit. 

His partner is a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois named Cayne. The two spend so much time together that Key said it feels like bringing one of his best friends to work.     

Cayne is trained to sniff out all major illegal drugs, and Key works with him every day to keep his senses sharp. One of their biggest busts to date led to the arrest of eight people in an Oakman apartment.   

"There were drugs everywhere. They were hidden in corners and in bags. We would have never found them all if it hadn't been for him," Key said.

There is usually no shortage of calls to keep Key and the deputies busy on the evening shift, which lasts from 2 p.m. to midnight.

Key remains focused on helping people, even when the best thing he can do for them in the moment is take them to jail.

In his new role as supervisor, Key encourages deputies to strike up conversations with members of the community.

"Sometimes people just want you to say, 'Hey.' Obviously, we can't be everywhere all the time, so it's beneficial to talk to the people who live there every day and see what we need to be watching out for. Most people are willing to help. Besides, it costs nothing extra to be nice," Key said.