LAKE MARTIN, Ala. (WSFA) - For the first time in the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s history, there’s a change in recruiting policy. ALEA is shifting gears in how it recruits future candidates for marine patrol. The agency is carving out a direct path for anyone interested in enforcing the state’s laws on the water.
In other words, no longer do Trooper Academy graduates have to spend time on the road before moving to marine patrol, if that’s something they choose to do.
“What we’ll do now is you’ll go through the same academy and will go through our field training program, but then you’ll transition from there to boating school, which is what they’re doing today, and then directly to marine police," said ALEA Trooper and recruiter Jeremy Burkett.
It’s all part of an overall effort to find qualified candidates for all segments of ALEA. No background in law enforcement for marine police? Not a problem. “We’re going to make sure they’re fully trained," said Burkett.
Although Carlyle Harbison spent the bulk of his trooper days on the road, he supports the policy change. Harbison is transitioning from the road to the water, himself.
“So I don’t have any problems with anybody coming off the streets and taking this job and going through the academy. They’ll get the proper training," said Harbison.
State troopers say this has nothing to do with the fact Alabama saw one of its deadliest summers in recent history. Nine people died on state waterways during a two week period beginning in late June.
“No connection," Burkett insisted.
Recruiters decline to release numbers that would indicate how many marine police officers they already have on state waterways, but one thing is clear. The drive to add more to the ranks is full steam ahead.
ALEA says it’s already getting some interest in marine patrol positions, but it’s too early to determine what the numbers are right now.
If you’re interested in becoming a trooper or marine police, you can find the application process on www.alea.gov/employment.