The legislation would allow Alabama’s governor and attorney general to appoint local police chiefs.

An Alabama senator has introduced a bill that would allow Alabama’s attorney general or governor to appoint local police chiefs if they believe there is a threat to public safety in the city.

SB 3, sponsored by Sen. Will Barfoot, R-Pike Road, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, would allow the attorney general or governor to name an acting chief of a police department after reviewing federal, state and federal crime statistics. local if the number of police officers employed is less than 30% of average employment over the past decade and after consultation with the local district attorney, sheriff, and crime victims.

Messages seeking comment were left with Barfoot on June 24, Wednesday and Thursday. Rep. Reed Ingram, R-Pike Road, who plans to introduce a companion bill in the Alabama House, said in an interview that the state will “take full responsibility” for housing those convicted of felonies within the cities.

“The county judges them with a portion of the state’s money,” he said. “The municipality does not pay anything. Then, when they are sentenced, we have to house them and today we are building mega prisons because we do not have enough space to house them.”

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Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed sharply criticized the proposal in a statement.

“At a time when we should all be working together, I hope that Rep. Ingram and Sen. Barfoot will work with our entire local state legislative delegation to provide solutions rather than introduce local preemption bills that undermine municipal authority and interfere with a city’s right to govern itself,” the statement said.

Greg Cochran, executive director of the Alabama League of Municipalities, which represents cities, said June 24 that the organization had not reviewed the bill.

The attorney general or governor would supervise the acting chief and pay his salary.

“The appointing authority may apply to the circuit court of the county in which the municipality is located for recovery of costs incurred in enforcing this section, including payment of the salary of the acting police chief,” the proposed legislation states.

The municipality would continue to fund the operations of the police department.

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The bill does not say how a municipality would regain its ability to appoint a police chief. It would allow a local sheriff to be appointed to the position. If a sheriff is appointed, the bill says he or she “shall be entitled to additional compensation … not to exceed $75,000 per year.”

“We’re going to work with the mayor and parachute in,” Ingram said. “You can get your recruiting back when we can help you with recruiting. We don’t want to stay in that position because we’re going to pay for that position. The state is going to pay for that position.”

In recent years, lawmakers have imposed harsher penalties for those convicted of crimes including shoplifting and criminal acts committed as part of a criminal enterprise.

Lawmakers also passed laws that lengthened sentences, including one that reduced incentives to reduce the time people in prison could receive for good behavior. In 2022, the Legislature eliminated the requirement for gun owners to purchase gun permits, money that sheriff’s departments used to fund their operations.

Ingram said the bill was not an overreach.

“We take full responsibility when a crime occurs in your jurisdiction,” he said. “I think we need to get involved and they need to get involved. We have to protect these citizens.”

Rep. Kenyatté Hassell, D-Montgomery, called the legislation “not necessary” and said lawmakers should instead look to reduce the availability of firearms.

“Let’s have some common sense,” Hassell said. “Let’s say we have all the police officers we need. Let’s say all the police officers we need are full and staffed, we have a guy right now walking around with an assault weapon, shirtless in a neighborhood, no one says anything to him.” “A person walks up and down the street with an assault weapon.”


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