FARMERS EAGER TO WORK WITH COLLIER ON RURAL CRIME
MONTGOMERY, Ala., April 8 — Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell commended Gov. Robert Bentley on the appointment of Homeland Security Director Spencer Collier as secretary of the newly created Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency. Parnell said Federation members look forward to working with Collier to curb rural crime.
“The theft of livestock, equipment and metal has become a financial drain on farmers and rural landowners in Alabama,” Parnell said. “We appreciate Gov. Bentley and the legislature including agriculture and forest investigators in the new Bureau of Investigation. Secretary Collier understands this issue because of his experience as a state trooper and legislator. We are excited about working with him to protect Alabama farm families and rural communities.”
While theft is often the primary objective of rural criminals, they often do thousands of dollars in damage to land, crops, timber, buildings, fences and equipment. Farmers and rural landowners also are frequent victims of trespassing, vandalism and illegal drug activities.
Collier’s appointment was the result of an initiative to consolidate law enforcement in Alabama. Earlier this year, the legislature passed a bill, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, creating the cabinet-level position. It consolidates uniformed services under the Department of Public Safety and investigative services in the Bureau of Investigations, both within the new State Law Enforcement Agency.
Agriculture investigations were previously housed in the Department of Agriculture and Industries, but no investigators are currently employed there due to budget cuts. The Alabama Forestry Commission previously was responsible for the state’s forest investigators.
“Gov. Bentley and Secretary Collier understand that crimes like cattle rustling require specialized training, knowledge and experience,” Parnell said. “We are encouraged about the opportunity to revitalize this important investigative function.”