Selma Police Department forfeiture fund account controversy resolved

Selma Police Department forfeiture fund account controversy resolved
Selma officers say they were shot at while investigating a Labor Day shooting.

SELMA, AL (WSFA) - A resolution was reached Friday on an issue that was brought to the office of Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall out of Selma. Now the background on how it all came to be.

Selma City Finance Director Ronita Wade told WSFA 12 News Friday for the first time. She was only trying to protect the city from potential abuses, protect the city after getting what she considered an unusual request from the police department for thousands of dollars from the forfeiture fund account to be paid to a police officer to buy police equipment for the department.

Wade suggested to the city council that it take over the account. The council ended up tabling the issue this week. Meantime, Police Chief Spencer Collier sought an opinion from the attorney general's office Friday. During that conference call, the office told the chief, Wade, the city attorney and the council that the state law allows the chief to be in charge of the funds.

"The attorney general's office made it clear that neither the council nor the finance director has any influence on how forfeiture funds are spent," said Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier.

The forfeiture account is money collected from crimes such as drug raids and illegal gun trades. Councilwoman Susan Youngblood said she is satisfied with the AG's opinion.

"There was the agreement the attorney general's opinion holds," said Youngblood.

Armed with the opinion Collier said he is moving forward with spending $13,000 on body armors with helmets for the police department.

Collier said the forfeiture fund receives on average of around $100,000 a year a from those types of crimes. WSFA 12 News has also learned other Selma city council members apparently were not satisfied with the attorney general's opinion and may try to get another opinion.

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