Budget cuts affect State Troopers
Published 3:00 am Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Troy’s state trooper post is among those slated to be closed as a cost-cutting measure proposed Monday by Gov. Robert Bentley.
Bentley met with law enforcement officers in Dothan and announced that the Alabama Legislature was considering budget cuts that included laying off 99 of 431 active Alabama State Troopers and closing 13 trooper postsGrove Hill in Clarke County, Evergreen in Conecuh County, Selma in Dallas County, Opelika in Lee County, Alexander City in Tallapoosa County, Jacksonville in Calhoun County, Gadsden in Etowah County, Hunstville in Madison County, Quad Cities in Lauderdale and Colbert Counties, Hamilton in Marion County, Tuscaloosa in Tuscaloosa County and Troy in Pike County.
Rep. Alan Boothe, R-Troy, said it saddened him deeply to hear that Troy’s post would be one of the 13 to close.
“I will be asking the governor not to close the Troy post,” Boothe said. “I think it’s important to have that presence of those troopers here in Pike County. As far as the budget goes, we’re working on it. We’re going to come back together Tuesday and create a resolution to fix the problem we’re in. We have to have our law enforcement agency. We worked for a long time to get the post opened in Troy, and I will be sadly disappointed to see the Troy post close.”
In February, Bentley presented his budget plan with additional revenue options for the General Fund that would hopefully avoid these devastating cuts. Bentley’s solution included adding additional revenues to compensate for the state’s growing debt in the General Fund. Bentley originally reported that the state was more than $700 million in debt.
ith the budget cuts, ALEA also would be forced to shut down 33 of the 78 stand-alone Driver License Offices, layoff 25 of 147 special agents within the State Bureau of Investigation, layoff eight of 31 Capitol Police, layoff aviation staff and fleet management staff, layoff two-thirds of all non-sworn personnel within ALEA, shut down the Agriculture and Rural Crime Unit with providing no assistance to locals for such investigation, remove all ALEA resources assisting rural cities or counties, provide limited operation security for events such as Talladega Races, football security and traffic direction details and the Selma to Montgomery March.
Along with the cutbacks, Bentley said there would be reduced personal in times of natural disasters, crippling the amount of resources need.
Boothe said with the reduced number of troopers, the public would suffer a mighty blow should a natural disaster befall Alabama.
“It’s hurricane season, and should the Gulf Coast be required to be evacuated it would require a large amount of troopers on I65,” Boothe said. “It would take longer than 24 hours to get all of the troopers there that are needed. Hopefully, we won’t have one, but we have to be prepared for that and any emergency we would have. As a line of defense, during a time of need, they’re there to help is. We would be in a perilous situation.”
Bentley also said reducing the amount of personnel available to would hinder the coordination of the eight statewide ALEA Homeland Security Law Enforcement Teams and Critical Response Teams.
Boothe said legislatures currently have proposals ready to be viewed to help create other avenues of revenue and even cut back on other spending to lessen the blow on ALEA.
“The people are hesitant about more taxes, but now is a time that you’ve got to either give services or raise taxes,” Boothe said. “There are a lot of proposals on the table, but there has got to be revenue from somewhere to keep things going..”