MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - One gubernatorial candidate holds a strong stance on public safety, and if elected he has a plan to combat the issue.
At an event in Montgomery Thursday afternoon, Democratic candidate Walt Maddox talked about how his administration would make Alabama safer. Maddox said the state is third in the country in murders per capita and ranks in the the high forties when it comes to safety overall.
Maddox said there are three things specifically he would tackle to help with public safety: increase the number of state troopers, better fund the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences to add more forensics labs, and remove "earnest resistance" as a stipulation for victims in the state's rape statute. He would also fully fund all services that relate to public safety.
Maddox said this would be paid for by reaching a compact with the Poarch Creek Indians and taxing existing gambling. That money would then go into the general fund, which would be used to hire more state troopers, add more forensics labs, and make sure law enforcement have the right tools to protect communities.
Maddox said there are currently 238 troopers patrolling state highways, and the Alabama Department of Law Enforcement says the state should have 750. When there are fewer state troopers, a burden is placed on sheriff's offices and police departments to fill in the gaps, jeopardizing safety on interstates and within cities and counties. He said the inordinate pressure put on local law enforcement is something they can't withstand in the long run.
"Alabama is not in good shape when it comes to protecting your home and protecting your communities," Maddox said. "We're putting a plan to solve these problems forward, and I think that is again one of the reasons why this election is important, to your local community and to our state as a whole."
Maddox is currently the mayor of Tuscaloosa, one of the largest cities in the state with one of the largest police departments. He said the bedrock of community is based off the safety of neighborhoods, schools, and business communities. Whenever he sees another fatal crash on TV at night, he said he is sad for the families impacted, but also sad that the state legislature and executive branch have ignored the problem for so long.
We've reached out to Gov. Kay Ivey for her stance on public safety, but we have not heard back.