Chief James Chapman was born and raised in Gadsden, Alabama. His law enforcement career began as a jailer at the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department in 1979, as a “temporary” job until he could find the career he wanted. He was hired as a patrolman at Boaz Police Department in 1980, and attended The Northeast Alabama Police Academy in 1981. He served as patrol captain until 1985, at which time he began his new career with the Oneonta Police Department. Chapman was interviewed and hired by an energetic, first term councilman named Danny Hicks, who would later become mayor for 16 years. Chapman was promoted to a newly created position of Chief Investigator in 1986, a position he served in until being appointed as Chief of Police in 1998. He has served in his position as Chief of Police under four separate administrations.

Chief James Chapman serves at the pleasure of the mayor and council and is responsible for our Police Department Operations.




Deputy Chief Judy Underwood was born in Oneonta, Alabama. She began her career in March of 1986 as a dispatcher in order to fulfill her desire to become a patrol officer. A young and progressive Police Chief Dave Odom recommended her for the job, and she became the first female officer for the City of Oneonta and for Blount County. Her Career as the first female officer began in June 1986 where she attended the Birmingham Police Academy, completing it three months later. Over the years she has served in several different ranks within the department including Patrol, Sergeant, Investigations, Captain and her current position as Deputy Chief.


Deputy Chief Underwood over the years has served on several committees within the community including The Fraternal Order of Police, where she currently serves as Vice President and the liaison between the police department and The Alabama Department of Economical Affairs.


Deputy Chief Underwood serves as an extension of the Chief and is responsible for the overall operations of the department.



Oneonta, AL

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Helpful Links

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