New Colbert County Sheriff shares plans for 2023

WAFF 48's Jasmyn Cornell reporting
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 2:23 PM CST
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TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WAFF) - There is a new sheriff in town, and he isn’t wasting any time. Eric Balentine is already making personnel changes and meeting with county leaders to improve the Colbert County Sheriff’s Office.

Balentine was sworn in on Jan. 15th. With almost 26 years of law enforcement experience, he hopes to take the sheriff’s office to new heights. One of his main goals is to expand the department.

“First of all, we’re working on some substations in the county. We’re trying to work on one right now on the west end of the county around the Barton area. We’re also trying to find a location on the east end around Ford City or Leighton,” said Balentine.

He believes the substations will make it easier for citizens to meet with deputies and file reports. The substations will also improve response times, according to Balentine.

“We really want to try to divide the county up into sectors, so that we can have a better response time to calls,” he said. “That way, we don’t have to travel high rates of speed and put people at risk getting to these calls. If we’ve got deputies in the right place, it just helps us get where we need to be faster and safer.”

When it comes to reducing crime, Ballentine plans to increase police presence in the county, crack down on drugs, and host trainings for the community.

“We are working right now with director of EMA on doing a mock drill annually for our schools for an active shooter,” said Balentine. “Our children are our most prized possession, and that’s what we want to focus on is keeping them safe and making our school system a safe place for our children.”

Ballentine also wants to focus on an initiative called the Good Morning Program. It’s designed to assist senior Alabamians and adults with disabilities who live alone.

“We’re gonna work tirelessly, but we want this to be a place [where] people know that if they need something they can call on not just law enforcement,” he said. “We want to be involved in fundraisers for the community. We want to be more community-oriented, and it’s just a privilege for me and my staff to be in this position and look forward to the next four years.”

Sheriff Ballentine says the county owns a building near Barton, so he plans to use that as a substation and open it within the next four to five months.

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