FBI Birmingham Field Office
The FBI Birmingham Field Office is the Birmingham divisional headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, operating over the 31-county area under the jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. The division operates from the Birmingham Field Office Building, dedicated in 2005 at 1000 18th Street North. The office is headed by Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr, who began his tenure in August 2017.
The Birmingham division has primary responsibility for federal investigations in Jefferson, Shelby and Walker Counties. It also supervises Resident Agencies in Florence, Gadsden, Huntsville, and Tuscaloosa. The FBI employs more than 200 people through the Birmingham Field Office.
The FBI's Birmingham office was originated before 1909, and consisted of three agents and a stenographer. It closed in May 1919 with its duties assumed by the Atlanta field office. In May 1930 the increased case load originating in Birmingham led the bureau to relocate the Atlanta office to Birmingham's Pioneer Building. It was agents from the Birmingham office that were famously labelled "G-Men" as they closed in on George "Machine Gun" Kelly in Memphis, Tennessee.
During World War II the Birmingham office was involved in counter-espionage and in tracking down escapees from prison camps in the state. It investigated the activities of Communist-affiliated groups such as the Southern Conference for Human Welfare in the 1930s and 40s. In the 1950s the office became more involved in Civil Rights matters, keeping tabs both on anti-integration terrorists and pro-integration movement leaders, and investigating the 1963 bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church and the murder of activist Viola Liuzzo. Clarence Kelly, who was appointed to supervise the Birmingham office in 1957, later became FBI director, serving from 1973 to 1977.
In 1989 Birmingham's FBI office investigated the murder of Federal judge Robert Vance by letter bomb. A Violent Crimes and Fugitive Task Force created with the FBI, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Birmingham Police Department and Bessemer Police Department investigated the 1997 bombing at New Woman All Women Health Care, a medical clinic targeted because it provided abortion services. In 2008 the FBI investigated former Jefferson County Commission president Larry Langford and others for their involvement in bribery and conspiracy schemes.
Special Agents in Charge
- C. W. McPhail, 1924-
- Patrick Maley, -2012
- Richard Schwein, 2012-2014
- Roger Stanton, January 2015-2017
- Johnnie Sharp Jr, August 2017-
- Carlton Peeples, May 2023–
- Birmingham Field Office at FBI.gov