Selma police department funding runs into controversy

Selma police department funding runs into controversy

SELMA, AL (WSFA) - The Selma Police Department's forfeiture account has suddenly become the center of controversy and the chief is none too happy about it.

"I can tell you in 22 years, I have never seen an attempt like this," said Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier.

Collier is pointing the finger at Finance Director Ronita Wade for getting involved in something she allegedly has no clue about, the police department's forfeiture account.

"These are funds derived from narcotic trades or illegal weapon trades," said Collier.

According to the chief, Wade wants to take over the account to the point where the police department has to get permission to use the money to buy more police equipment. Wade reportedly introduced the idea to the Selma city council earlier this summer. This week, the council voted to table the idea at a later date.

"It has to be spent on law enforcement," Collier said.

City leaders wouldn't allow Wade to go on camera to talk about the reasoning behind the move. The police department receives, on average, around $100,000 a year in forfeiture funds. City attorney Jimmy Nunn says all of this is leading to a conference call Friday afternoon with the attorney general's office to get clarity on whether this is legal.

"Hopefully, we'll have better clarification, better understanding of the AG's opinion that's out there and the League of Municipalities to give us a better way how to proceed on the forfeiture funds," said Nunn.

Until then, the issue has become an arresting topic between the high chief and the finance director, locked in a battle over money.

Chief Collier cites Alabama law he says clearly states that law enforcement may keep the forfeiture funds. The chief submitted this statue which says in part:

Title 20-2-93 (e)(1)(2)

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