MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Derrick Cunningham knew as a little boy what he wanted to do when he grew up.
“Everybody who grew up with me knew, if we were playing cops and robbers and I wasn’t the cop, then I was going home,” said Montgomery County Sheriff Derrick Cunningham.
Cunningham has a passion for law enforcement. He worked with previous Montgomery Sheriff DT Marshall for close to 20 years and took over the job four years ago when Marshall retired.
He takes pride in having a working environment where people want to come to work every day, but one of his newest deputies has a lot of folks talking.
“We deputized him. So when I’m not here, he’s in charge.”
To add a little confusion, this new guy shares the same first name as the sheriff.
“They even named him Derrick too.”
It seems this new guy has taken over as the most popular Derrick in the building, and the sheriff is okay with that.
Deputy Derrick is a baby parakeet that joined the force a few months ago. It all started when Cunningham’s administrative assistant brought a family bird to the office, just for the day. When she saw how well the bird did, she told the sheriff it would be nice to have one with them at the office all the time.
There are some times, however, where there’s a little confusion.
“Every day we will say ‘Derrick hush!’ and he (the sheriff) will be like, ‘what?' said the sheriff’s administrative assistant Christie Vazquez. "Then we have to explain, ‘not you sheriff, we’re talking to the bird.’”
Now, we’ve been told Derrick is pretty chatty but on this day he was a bird with few words. Well, more life zero words, but he sure is a cute little fella. Even on his quiet days, Derrick (the bird) seems to have found a home.
“It’s definitely a morale boost,” said Cunningham. "The bird is just part of the office now.”