New AL law enforcement dept. ALEA has growing pains - - The News for South Mississippi

New AL law enforcement dept. ALEA has growing pains

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Starting in 2015, just about all of the varying crime-stopping functions on a state level in Alabama will fall under one department, the new Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

ALEA, as the new agency is known, was created by the Alabama Legislature last year and the concept was billed as a way to cut down on redundancy among departments and to improve communication between law enforcement entities.

"This is about improving the way we all talk to each other" says Spencer Collier, who was appointed the state's first ever Secretary of Law Enforcement. "For the first time ever we have a true state police force."

Collier explains that for many years agencies never had any requirements to share information which he says at times made things difficult. Now, all agencies will work together depending on the case.

He says the toughest part has been getting officers and staff who have held some jobs for years to accept the new system. 

"You have such an institutional pride in individual agencies and that's not a bad thing. I went through that myself. I was a state trooper and that's ingrained."

Multiple law enforcement sources have said they've had "little information" or that they've been "confused" about what the new hierarchy means for their jobs.

Collier insists, "if you're a uniformed officer, January one you're going to get in your car and you're going to begin your shift. There's not going to be a seismic change in the world but operationally, really for the first time in history we have a true chain of command for state law enforcement.​"

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