When you think of safety on Alabama roads, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
The lack of an adequate number of Alabama state troopers may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) is stressing that the need for more state troopers is pressing.
At a recent budget hearing at the Alabama State House, ALEA Secretary Spencer Collier stressed that Alabama is not adequately funding public safety. At present, the state of Alabama has 420 state troopers who spend 30 percent of their shifts on patrol and the other 70 percent of their time responding to police calls. The ALEA stresses that 420 state troopers is far from adequate, which is why the ALEA is requesting $21 million over the next year to maintain current operations while also requesting an additional $2.5 million that will be used to hire 50 new Alabama state troopers. The issue is a contentious one, with issues being raised over taxes and budget allocations.
The Arguments for and Against Increased Funding for the ALEA
According to ALEA Secretary Collier, the Alabama legislature appropriated $88 million to the Department of Public Safety in 2008. Collier stresses that the ALEA is the size of the Department of Public Safety “plus eleven other agencies”, yet they are only given $44 million. The math is simple, according to Collier. The ALEA is underfunded, compromising Alabama’s public safety in the process.
Critics of this assertion say that the ALEA has to make do with what they are already appropriated. According to Senator Arthur Orr, the money simply “ain’t there.” Lawmakers like Orr are claiming that they do not have the money, and raising taxes is not a desirable option. ALEA Secretary Collier says that this line of thinking demonstrates that the legislature is concerned about dollars above all else, even if public safety is being compromised in the process.
Ahead of the legislative session beginning February 2nd, this is an important Alabama safety issue to monitor.
It is worth noting that, while Alabama may have very real budget concerns, none of the detractors really addressed the ALEA’s safety concerns. While budgets are certainly a matter of great importance, it is curious that the merits of the ALEA’s safety concerns were not addressed. At present, it seems likely that the ALEA will be forced to make do with managing the money that they already receive.
If the ALEA’s fears are correct with regards to their belief that public safety is being compromised, we may experience Alabama roads with compromised safety in the coming year. If you or a loved one has been injured in any kind of accident on Alabama roads in Baldwin, Mobile or Escambia Counties, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact Foley auto attorney Noel B. Leonard or call 251-732-2701 for a legal consultation to discuss your case with an experienced Alabama injury attorney who will fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.