Law enforcement learns of legislative bills
Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson updated local law enforcement agencies during a Law Enforcement Investigation Breakfast on Friday, Nov. 3, about legislation that could affect the work of local police officers.
Several agencies attended the breakfast, including the Dale County Sheriff's Office, the Daleville Police Department, the Enterprise Police Department, the Coffee County Sheriff's Office, the Directorate of Public Safety, Fort Rucker's Provost Marshal and more.
Olson serves as the president of the Alabama Sheriff's Association, whose legislative committee works with the legislature on bills and resolutions that will benefit law enforcement.
"Every time that the legislature meets, it appears that the law will get changed," he said. "There have already been a bunch of pre-filed bills in the legislature that's going to affect law enforcement and adding to and taking away from the criminal code. One of the things that's already been pre-filed is the pistol permit bill, to do away with the pistol permit, which also repeals multiple laws."
The pre-filed bill, introduced by State Senator Gerald Allen, focuses on the possession and carrying of firearms and "certain requirements" for firearms.
The bill, if approved, would repeal eight sub sections of the Code of Alabama, as well as amend one subsection, all relating to firearms.
These subsections that would be repealed are Sections 9-11-304, 13A-11-50, 13A-11-51, 13A-11-52, 13A-11-59, 13A-11-71, 13A-11-73, 13A-11-74.
These sections refer to provisions on carrying a pistol in a vehicle or concealed, evidence of intent when committing a crime while armed, carrying a pistol on private property and more.
The subsection that would be amended is Section 13A-11-61.2, which refers to the "possession of firearms in certain places."
"I just don't see how repealing that law is good for a law enforcement officer, the street cop, the one that's out here, stopping that car, answering that complaint," he said. "It just takes away all the tools you need to do your jobs."
Following the discussion of legislation related to carrying a firearm, Olson said one problem that could be an issue for law enforcement in December relates to individuals carrying firearms in polling places.
A special election will be held on Dec. 12 to choose the candidate who will fill Attorney General Jeff Session's former Senate position.
"One thing we've been faced with across the state as well is guns in polling places," he said. "There is no law currently on the books that prevents someone from going into a polling place armed. It depends on the polling place itself and what that building is utilized for.
"What we've basically been doing is if they come in to vote, the one thing you (do not) want to do is not prohibit those individuals from exercising their right to vote. Make sure you get them in and get them out. If they cause a disturbance while they're in there, that's a totally different situation."
Ultimately, Olson encouraged local law enforcement officers to be aware of what is happening in the state legislature.
"If you have time, and I know all of you are busy, pay close attention to your legislature," he said. "You can go online; you can see what's been filed, and stay on top of it. Call your representatives and your local legislators, and express your concerns.
"I know with the (Alabama) Chief's Association, as well as our association, the District Attorney's Association, we try to stay on top of it, and we try to support legislation that is best for law enforcement. There has been some good legislation filed for law enforcement, but there are some we felt like that might be detrimental for law enforcement as well."