Alabama Law Enforcement Agency

photo by Brett Tannehill

CULLMAN, Ala. (AP) — Authorities have suspended the search for a woman who was thrown from a boat on July 4.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said Friday that the search for 26-year-old Kelsey Nicole Starling on Smith Lake has been indefinitely suspended.

The agency said there will be periodic searches in the future, but the daily search activities are being stopped. Marine Patrol troopers will continue to search the area during boat patrols.

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama musician has been accused of possessing and intending to distribute more than 21,000 child porn videos and images.

News outlets report 30-year-old Logan Brent Maughon filed a "not guilty" motion Monday. He was charged last week with possession and dissemination of child pornography.

Mobile Police Representative Charlette Solis says police received an online tip of the allegations. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Crimes Against Children Task Force is assisting in the investigation.

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — A man opened fire on police responding to a call about a domestic disturbance in an Alabama mobile home park, killing one officer and wounding two others, authorities said Monday.

An intense manhunt led to his arrest hours later, not far from the Arrow Head Trailer Park, which is only a few miles from the campus of Auburn University, where students had been warned to be on alert. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency described 29-year-old Grady Wayne Wilkes as armed and extremely dangerous, wearing camouflage body armor and a helmet.

A lawsuit filed against former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley by his one-time law enforcement secretary is currently set to go to trial next March.

Court records show Montgomery Circuit Judge Greg Griffin set a March 4 trial date for the case.

Former ALEA Secretary Spencer Collier contends Bentley wrongfully fired him and then tried to discredit him with a sham state investigation. Collier also accuses Bentley of interfering in law enforcement business.

Bentley argues Collier was dismissed "for cause."

Police say a man shot and killed by a police officer at an Alabama shopping mall Thursday night was "likely" not the person who shot a teenager that evening.

Twenty-one-year-old Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford of Hueytown, Ala. was shot and killed by a police officer responding to the Thanksgiving night shooting at Riverchase Galleria that wounded an 18-year-old and 12-year-old.

Alabama's growing population means state driver licenses will get an additional digit.  

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency says it's adding an eighth digit to all new driver licenses issued by the state beginning Dec. 1.

The department says people who hold the roughly 5.9 million valid licenses already issued by the state won't be affected by the change. Their seven-digit licenses will remain valid.

Police in Alabama and four other Southeastern states are cracking down on traffic violations this week in an effort to cut down on wrecks and traffic fatalities.

“Operation Southern Shield” starts today in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs oversees grants used for the program. They say officers will be looking to reduce the number of drivers speeding, driving impaired or distracted, and not wearing seatbelts.

Authorities say a University of North Alabama police officer is currently on administrative leave after shooting a woman during a traffic stop.

 

The confrontation occurred at around 3 a.m. Sunday in Florence, Ala., according to the TimesDaily of Florence.

 

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency released a statement saying the driver in the traffic stop allegedly tried to run over the campus officer, forcing the officer to fire multiple shots striking the vehicle. The driver then fled the scene. Photos show a red car crashed into a utility pole.

 

Spencer Collier
ALEA

Former Alabama Law Enforcement Secretary Spencer Collier now has a new job title: Police Chief of Selma.

Selma Mayor Darrio Melton announced the appointment yesterday. He released a statement saying Collier's "expertise in law enforcement will benefit our city and help move us forward."

Collier and Melton served together in the House of Representatives. Collier is also a former state homeland security director and a former Alabama state trooper.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Transportation say they have reached an agreement with Alabama after determining that black residents were disproportionately affected by the state's closure of rural driver's license offices.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the terms of the agreement yesterday. He says the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency has agreed, among other things, to expand the hours that the rural offices are open.

Alabama’s state troopers say this year’s Thanksgiving holiday was more dangerous on roadways compared to last year.

From 12:01 a.m. Wednesday until Sunday at midnight, troopers investigated 14 traffic deaths compared to 10 deaths during the 2015 Thanksgiving weekend.

Al.com reports those fatal crashes occurred in Baldwin, Calhoun, Choctaw, Cleburne, Coosa, Cullman, Limestone, Macon, Marshall, Mobile, Monroe, Shelby and Tuscaloosa counties.

Attorney general's office clears Collier

Oct 20, 2016

A grand jury clears former Law Enforcement Secretary Spencer Collier of wrongdoing.

The attorney general's office announced today that a grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing by Collier and is closing the investigation requested by Gov. Robert Bentley's administration.

Bentley fired Collier in March saying a review found possible misuse of funds. The findings were sent to the attorney general's office.

Report criticizes Collier for absenteeism, spending

Oct 6, 2016

An internal investigation by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is criticizing its former chief's attendance and management.

Gov. Robert Bentley included the report in his filing with an impeachment committee last week. It was former agency head Spencer Collier's accusations that helped launched the impeachment probe against Bentley.

High-profile lawyers have been named to both sides in the impeachment investigation against Governor Robert Bentley, and Alabama's taxpayers will foot the bill.

Bentley's office announced  that it is hiring Ross Garber, who represented the governors of South Carolina and Connecticut during impeachment proceedings.                     

Alabama's House Judiciary Committee named Birmingham attorney Jackson Sharman as its special counsel. That's a role he had with the U.S. House Banking Committee for the Whitewater investigation during the Clinton administration.

A U.S. Representative from Alabama says the Obama administration is dropping a plan to possibly house migrant children in Baldwin County and in Montgomery.

Rep. Bradley Byrne issued a statement yesterday saying he recently learned the Department of Health and Human Services won't pursue two rural, military airfields in Baldwin County as shelters for migrant children who are currently in the country without their parents.

An email released by Byrne’s office says the government also is dropping the Maxwell-Gunter Air Force complex in Montgomery from consideration.

Gov. Robert Bentley asks the FBI for assistance after finding that several state workers in the finance department had unauthorized access to Alabama's criminal justice database.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency released letters today showing that Bentley also dismissed the state's chief information officer and placed another finance official on administrative leave.

The former state law enforcement chief who accused Governor Robert Bentley of having an affair with an adviser has been questioned by federal investigators about the governor's administration.

Kenny Mendelsohn, an attorney representing former state law enforcement secretary Spencer Collier, revealed yesterday that the questioning occurred. But he refused to elaborate on what questions investigators asked.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley fired Spencer Collier from his position as the head of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency last night.

The governor made his decision after an investigation by acting ALEA head Stan Stabler which found possible misuse of state funds under Collier’s watch. Stabler says the agency’s Integrity Unit found multiple areas of concern during an internal review, and those have been submitted to Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange’s office for further action.

Ride sharing services have officially started operating in Birmingham.

Tom Maguire, general manager of Uber in Alabama told al.com users were able to hail rides from their smartphones beginning yesterday afternoon.

Ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft let people use smartphone apps to book and pay for rides. Birmingham officials had been discussing whether to allow the companies to set up shop for more than a year.

Demonstrators emptied liquor bottles outside the Alabama Capitol to protest the closing of driver's license offices in Black Belt counties.

Selma state senator Hank Sanders told the Montgomery Advertiser that state agencies are leaving money-losing liquor stores open in the impoverished areas while closing rural driver's license offices.

The crowd chanted "Give us the ballot, not just the bottle" during the Monday protest.

The event was one of several demonstrations over the closures.

Governor Robert Bentley has announced he won’t allow any Syrian refugees to relocate to Alabama.

Bentley released a statement Sunday saying, "After full consideration of this weekend's attacks of terror on innocent citizens in Paris, I will oppose any attempt to relocate Syrian refugees to Alabama through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm's way."

Alabama has reopened most rural driver license offices for one day each month.

The offices began reopening this week on a limited basis following national backlash over a plan to close them permanently.

In September, The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency announced plans to close 31 offices where state workers had given driving tests one day per week.

The agency said the closures were necessary because of budget cuts. Critics said the closures created a hardship for rural residents and only saved the state $100,000 a year in travel costs.

St. Clair Prison
Equal Justice Initiative

The U.S. prison system is set to release thousands of inmates nationwide including hundreds in Alabama later this month thanks to new sentencing guidelines.

The Washington Post reports that this one-time release will occur between October 30 and November 2. The change is due to new guidelines shortening drug trafficking sentences that were approved last year.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley came out to defend the state’s closure of dozens of driver’s license offices after Congresswoman Terri Sewell said she was pursuing a Department of Justice investigation.

Bentley sent a letter to U.S Representative Terri Sewell yesterday responding to Sewell's criticisms. She has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate since Alabama requires a photo ID to vote. She says the closures disproportionately impact poor and African-American populations.

The Tennessee Riverkeeper has announced its intention to sue several entities including chemical manufacturer 3M over pollution in the Wheeler Reservoir.

The riverkeeper plans to sue 3M as well as BFI Waste Systems of Alabama, Decatur Utilities and the City of Decatur. They allege those groups are responsible for contaminating the waterway with perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs. PFCs tend to accumulate in the bodies of humans and animals, and exposure has been linked to diseases like cancer, thyroid disease and ulcerative colitis.

Mobile County’s probate court will hear arguments today on whether or not same sex couples can adopt children.

Several Alabama counties have already started approving adoptions for gay couples.

Susan Watson is the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama. She says if adoptions are approved, it will be one step closer to gaining equality for same sex couples.

The University of Alabama Birmingham is launching a network to help advance more women to positions of leadership in higher education.

Officials say the new Alabama Network for Women Leaders in Higher Education is part of the American Council on Education (ACE) Women's Network. That’s a national system identifying leaders in higher education and connecting them to support and development networks.

A federal judge has ruled once more that gays and lesbians have the right to marry in all Alabama counties, but placed her decision on hold until the U.S Supreme Court issues their ruling on same-sex marriage nationally.

U.S District Judge Callie Granade ruled yesterday saying once again that Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and ordered all probate judges to stop enforcing that ban. But her order won’t go into effect until a U.S. Supreme Court decision which is expected to be handed down sometime next month.

The singer who became famous for the song "When a Man Loves a Woman" died yesterday. Percy Sledge had a massive impact on what became known as the "Muscle Shoals sound".

Sledge walked into a recording studio in Alabama's Muscle Shoals region in 1966. In a few weeks, his signature song "When a Man Loves a Woman" would become the first of his five gold records.

Dick Cooper is the Curator of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. He says Sledge's legacy was defined when he was just 25 years old.