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Sheriff Palmer graduated from Basic Law Enforcement Training in the summer of 1996 and subsequently started work with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office August 8 of the same year. He first was hired as a bailiff and worked in the courtroom security setting. Sheriff Palmer also worked, in the sheriff's office as a dispatcher, jailer, and any other position to learn the working of the office. He was later transferred into a full time patrol officer position and began to patrol as a uniformed officer. As time passed, he was promoted to patrol shift sergeant and began to supervise deputies in their duties. He also worked as a field training officer, teaching new deputies how to effectively patrol Cherokee County. 

Sheriff Palmer was later promoted to detective and helped develop the first Domestic Violence Response Unit in Cherokee County. This unit was the first in North Carolina to successfully prosecute domestic violence cases without requiring the victim to testify and was the predecessor to what is now known as the Victims Advocacy Response Unit. Sheriff Palmer worked in this capacity until he was promoted to the Multiple Agency Narcotics Unit where he worked as a special agent and was later promoted to the position of Unit Commander until retiring from this position in 2008. This unit was assigned to fighting illegal drug activity in Western North Carolina. As a Special Agent, he investigated drug activity in Cherokee, Clay, Macon, and Graham Counties. This Drug Investigative Unit was one of the most successful drug units in North Carolina. During this time he was a member of the Sheriff's Emergency Response Unit (S.E.R.T.) and gained a certification in identifying, entering and dismantling Clandestine Methamphetamine Laboratories. Sheriff Palmer received training at Quantico Virginia's Drug Enforcement Administration (D.E.A.) training center. He also attended a two week Narcotic Investigation School with the D.E.A. to learn how to identify, investigate, and combat illicit drug activity. 

Sheriff Palmer began work in the ministry and became an ordained minister in 2006. He began Pastoral Ministry in 2007 and was elected to serve at Vengeance Creek Baptist Church until his retirement there in 2014.

During this time, Sheriff Palmer worked at the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office in a part time status until asked to work in a full time capacity to develop a Gang Awareness and Investigative Unit. He was assigned to track and monitor any gang activity in the Cherokee County and surrounding areas. While working in this capacity, he began to teach Gang Resistance Education and Awareness Training (G.R.E.A.T.) within the Cherokee County School System, focusing on the Middle School level. After getting involved in the school system, I developed a passion for working with our youth and was hired as a School Resource Officer where and served as Assistant Chief.
List of certifications and recognitions during his career are as follows:
- Critical Incident Stress Management - OC Aerosol Training (Pepper Spray) - Rapid Deployment in Public Schools
- Arson Detection - Administrative Office of the Court Appreciation for Outstanding Methamphetamine Training and Education
- Basic Narcotic Investigator (DEA) - Law Enforcement Instructor - Pharmaceutical Drug Diversions
- Interview and Interrogation - Defensive/Precision Driver Training - Domestic Preparedness
- Clandestine Laboratory Investigation (DEA) - Counterdrug Marijuana Spotter Course - Officer Survival
- Basic S.W.A.T. - Gang Resistance Education and Training - Defensive Tactics
- DEA Clandestine Lab Tactical Entry School - Unified Domestic Violence Training - Audio/Surveillance System Training
- Methamphetamine Investigation Management - Community Response to Domestic Violence - Law Enforcement Response to Domestic Violence



Sheriff Palmer


Chief Deputy Mark Thigpen serves our citizens as the Chief Deputy, second in charge of the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office. His duties include oversight of all Divisions within the Sheriff's Office.



 Mark Thigpen


Captain Mark Patterson serves our citizens as the Jail Administrator, for the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office. His duties include the oversight of inmate welfare and ensuring that the Detention Center is ran according to strict state guidelines.

 Mark Patterson
Last updated: 1/6/2015 1:45:56 PM