Gov. Proposes Law Enforcement Efficiency Plan; Jobs Could Be at Risk

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By Jessica Gertler

From Montgomery -- Governor Robert Bentley is unveiling his plan to streamline state law enforcement agencies, which he says will put fewer officers behind a desk and get them on the streets.

Right now, there are 20 law enforcement agencies that employ 1,500 people. Bentley says by merging some departments, the state will eliminate redundancies in service, but he says it will also eliminate jobs.

Bentley is proposing a plan that he says puts more agents on the road and saves tax payer dollars.

"This is the most attainable and most immediate way to continue streamlining law enforcement," says Bentley.

As part of the executive order Bentley signed Tuesday, he has hired Alabama Department of Homeland Security Director Spencer Collier as Senior Law Enforcement Adviser, a new position the governor created.

Collier will be in charge of consolidating agencies.

"His directive is pretty clear," says Collier. "Get officers behind the desk and out on the field."

Bentley is also proposing legislation to streamline some agencies. A similar plan that Senator Del Marsh of Anniston is pushing. But Marsh wants to merge most investigative bureaus, rid of the Alabama Department of Homeland Security, and put it under one roof.

Marsh released a statement. He says "the governor's announcement is a positive step" but he says his plan "will outlast the current Governor and Legislature."

"I think ours is better," says Bentley. "I am opposing it by presenting what I think is a better plan."

CBS 8 Political Analyst Steve Flowers says the only problem he sees: "some administrator at the ABC Department or some agency that has some enforcement authority now may not like relinquishing authority."

But what would the governor's plan mean for local agencies?

"Right now, when there are traffic accidents we have to wait for DPS to get on the scene," says Montgomery County Chief Deputy Derrick Cunningham. "Now you're putting more resources out there."

Bentley says by merging these agencies, the state will save money, but couldn't give us an exact amount.

As of now, Bentley would not give us the number of jobs that will be eliminated.

Bentley says this plan is different from the recommendations given by his task force that he created last June.

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