The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

January 23, 2013

UPDATED: Gov. Bentley proposes law enforcement plan

— MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has signed an executive order he hopes will improve coordination between various state law enforcement agencies.

Bentley signed the order Tuesday, which makes state Homeland Security Director Spencer Collier the state's senior law enforcement adviser.

One of Collier's responsibilities will be to ensure the maximum number of state law enforcement officers are on the streets. The governor says consolidating administrative duties among departments is a way to accomplish that.

Bentley says his plan would consolidate some administrative functions such as purchasing, fleet maintenance and communications.

The governor's plans may conflict with legislation being introduced by GOP Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh. Marsh's proposal would consolidate and reorganize the state's numerous law enforcement functions into a new Public Safety Agency.

Marsh on Tuesday called the governor's plan a "positive step" but said he still plans to try to get his bill passed in the Senate.

"It's clear that we are both working toward a very similar goal," Marsh said. "However, we will continue to push legislation to ensure a comprehensive consolidation and reorganization that will outlast the current governor and Legislature. "

Marsh praised the governor for his efforts to reduce the size of state government.

"While we may disagree over the best approach in this particular instance. I'm confident that we will continue working together on this front to do what's best for the people of Alabama," Marsh said.

Concerning Marsh's proposal, the governor said: "I think ours is better."

"We are not creating a new massive state agency," Bentley said, referring to the Public Safety Agency that would be created under Marsh's proposal.

Alabama Department of Public Safety Director Hugh McCall said he agrees with the governor's plan to ask agencies to work together.

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