ALEA head: Budget cuts will strain public safety - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

ALEA head: Budget cuts will strain public safety

ALEA Secretary Spencer Collier says his agency cannot sustain the cuts being offered in the general fund. (Source: WAFF) ALEA Secretary Spencer Collier says his agency cannot sustain the cuts being offered in the general fund. (Source: WAFF)
FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) -

The head of the state law enforcement agency has a grim warning for Alabama residents when it comes to public safety.

Spencer Collier, Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, says the proposed budget cuts will have a serious impact on public safety.

Collier spent Monday afternoon with the Shoals Rotary Club discussing his concerns. 

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Simply put, Secretary Collier says his agency cannot sustain the cuts being offered in the general fund.

"We can't carry out the statutory responsibilities they've given us already with the dollars they're proposing, let alone the new responsibilities they continue to put on us," said Collier. 

Without a doubt, Collier added, the budget cut puts a strain on public safety.

"It is the number one priority of state and local government, to provide public safety," he said.

With the agency already working on a lean budget, an additional 30 percent cut would drop them from $55-million to $39-million.

"They're going to wait awhile for a trooper if they're in an accident," Collier forewarned. "Number two is not having that presence: you deter crime by presence, by purely being seen... With 100 less troopers, that's 100 less to be seen." 

Secretary Collier says his number one fear is having a trooper or agent get hurt on duty, but when you reduce law enforcement numbers that likelihood goes up.

"That's a tough thing to ask these guys and I ask them to do it, and it's hard to look them in the eyes and ask them... yet our legislature can't make sure we're properly funded to do these things - it's the core function of government," said Collier.

He said budget cuts would also cause them to close all but four trooper posts and 33 driver's license offices. Those closures could send residents like those here in Northwest corner of the state to Huntsville or even Birmingham to get a driver's license. 

"If we have a driver's license facility, they expect us to pay the lease, pay the rent on it, pay the power, and if we don't have the money to do that... you'll see the people from their area literally having to go to Birmingham for a license," said Collier.

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