AG: Cop merger legal
Published 2:00 am Wednesday, April 10, 2013
The state attorney general says East Brewton can contract with the City of Brewton for law enforcement services — now the question is, will the cities go through with it?
East Brewton council members had sought an official attorney general opinion on the possible merger. Members of both city councils discussed the possibility in closed door meetings earlier this year, although the cities have not met since.
“We got an answer from the Alabama attorney general’s office on the matter,” Mayor Terry Clark told East Brewton Council members Monday. “Basically, it said it’s perfectly legal to do what has been considered as far as the police department is concerned.”
The council took no action Monday, but Clark said there will be discussions on the matter in the coming weeks.
“We now know it’s legal if we move forward,” Clark said.
“There are still some things that have to be done before that could happen. It could take a month, could take two months — there’s no way to know right now without those discussions.”
Questions submitted to the attorney general by the City of East Brewton included whether or not the city could contract with the City of Brewton to provide policing duties within the City of East Brewton and what procedures could be used to enter such a contract.
In a response from Luther Strange’s office, the possibility of the two departments and cities entering into an agreement for policing purposes is completely legal and possible — with minor stipulations.
“The City of East Brewton may contract with the City of Brewton for the performance of policing duties within its jurisdiction,” the letter stated. “The contract must comply with the specifications set forth in section 11-102-1 of the Code of Alabama. Both municipalities must adopt an ordinance approving of the contract, and each municipality should adopt all ordinances, resolutions and policies necessary to authorize law enforcement officers of the City of Brewton to carry out policing duties within the jurisdiction of the City of East Brewton.”
In the Section of the Code of Alabama referred to by Strange’s office, stipulations include how the contract is written and length of time for the action to be considered in the contract.
“The contract shall be in writing,” the Code states. “The contract shall specify the duration of the contract which shall not exceed three years. The parties may renew the contract for another term of nor more than three years on the same or amended terms by the same method by which the original contract was adopted. Any party to the contranct shall have the power to refuse to renew the contract.”
Also, according to the Code, the “contract shall also specify the purpose of the contract; the method to be used to partially or completely terminate the contract; the method to be used to dispose of any property belonging to the parties as a result of the contract upon termination of the contract.”
Clark said no other action had been taken on the matter while the city waited for the attorney general’s opinion. He said the matter is still open for discussion.