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Walt Maddox publishes public safety priorities to address trooper shortages, improve technology

Democrat candidate for governor Walt Maddox on Thursday published an outline of his goals for addressing public safety.

The plan discusses problems suffered by Alabama’s State Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), particularly its shortage of state troopers and the resulting reliance upon city and county law enforcement to fulfill various enforcement duties.

Fewer than 300 troopers currently patrol the state, according to the Alabama State Troopers Association.

Maddox’s plan does not offer a targeted number of troopers, but his campaign confirmed to Yellowhammer News that he wants to see the number reach at least what ALEA has expressed it needs, 750 troopers, and eventually what the University of Alabama’s Center for Advanced Public Safety has said the state needs, which is 1,000.

The plan also calls for reforming the Alabama Code’s definition of forcible compulsion, currently defined as “physical force that overcomes earnest resistance or a threat, express or implied, that places a person in fear of immediate death or serious physical injury to himself or another person.”

“If a person uses physical strength, or threats of death or serious physical injury, to force someone into sex, then that’s rape, and we should not adhere to the archaic and ridiculous thinking that the victim must fight back or else the perpetrator goes free,” Maddox’s plan says.

It also seeks to:

  • Increase funding for the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences
  • Enhance disaster preparedness
  • Establish closer ties between state agencies and academic institutions for the development of technologies
  • Further address distracted driving through mandated driver’s education curricula
  • Reform prisons and rehabilitation services

In an interview with WSFA, Maddox said he seeks to fund the additional troopers by reaching an agreement with the Poarch Creek Indians to tax gambling.

The plan does not offer details about funding the other priorities.

This year’s general fund budget provides $3.2 million for the at least 30 new troopers.