The Senate Tuesday night gave final approval to legislation sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, that would consolidate law enforcement functions under a new Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency.
The Senate passed the bill last month; the House passed the bill on Feb. 28. It now goes to Gov. Robert Bentley for signature.
Marsh said after the vote it was a “great day” for the state.
“We believe there are significant dollars to be saved,” he said.
The bill would create an Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency, divided into a Department of Public Safety and a State Bureau of Investigations and headed by a Secretary who would hold cabinet-level status. Investigators currently working with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries and the Department of Revenue would be transferred to the Bureau of Investigations. The law enforcement division of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) would also be moved to the Bureau.
The current law enforcement units of the Public Service Commission (PSC) and Department of Revenue would be moved to a new Highway Patrol Division established under the Department of Public Safety. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Marine Police Division would be moved into the new DPS.
The bill passed the Senate unanimously in February, but members of the House’s black caucus objected to what they said was a lack of training standards in the legislation and concern that it would remove Col. Hugh McCall, the director of the Alabama Department of Public Safety, from Bentley’s cabinet. McCall, who is black, is one of two African-Americans in the governor’s cabinet.
The Senate approved the measure quickly Tuesday night. If Bentley signs the measure, the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency would be created immediately; the legislation requires consolidation of the agencies is required to be complete by January 1, 2015.
– posted by Brian Lyman