Derrick Akal has been working with the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office for the past eight years, most of that spent as a School Resource Officer.
A 1984 graduate of Cumberland High School, Akal furthered his education by attending Tennessee Wesleyan College from 1984 until 1988.
Before going into law enforcement, Akal spent 12 years on active duty with the U.S. Army. After the military, he hired on with the Lynch City Police Department. He worked with Lynch from 2002 until 2004. After leaving the Lynch department, he moved just a couple miles down the road and went to work with the Cumberland City Police Department. He left Cumberland in 2007, joining the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office, where he has been ever since.
When asked what policing means to him, Akal cites helping people as the primary goal.
“I’ve been in public service for over 20 years,” he said. “So anytime I’m in a position to help others I’m happy. Also, it means I have the ability to meet people who otherwise I would not have the opportunity to meet.”
Akal also spends a lot of time working with children by coaching basketball. He was an assistant boys’ basketball coach at Cumberland from 2003 until 2007, and moved to Harlan County High School as assistant boys’ basketball coach from 2008 until 2011. He has been the head coach for the Harlan Independent girls’ basketball team since 2011.
Harlan County Sheriff Leslie “Smitty” Smith says Akal’s work is appreciated.
“Derrick has been with the sheriff’s office since 2008,” said Smith. “He has spent the majority of his time serving as a School Resource Officer at the Harlan County High School. He enjoys working as an SRO and working with the kids, as is evident in the number or years he has coached. We are proud to have him on our team.”
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde