This is lengthy, but let’s be blunt and cut to the chase. I have read a lot about the Morgan County Sheriff, and a lot from some of her supporters. The Sheriff is brilliant. Let’s give credit where credit is due. She is a master politician. Which usually means a master con-artist. She is a master public relations person. She knows how to do the things to get the headlines. From special needs rodeos to a pink patrol car to contributing money from her rodeos to charity. She would make more money honestly as a public relations representative; she's really good.....in that area. But that does not make one a good Sheriff.
But Ana is not in public relations, she is an elected Sheriff. In this blog, we break down why everything that's wrong in the MCSO, and how easily the Sheriff, with a little help from their friends. the press gets by with it and more. What prompted THIS edition is the stunt at the standoff in the City of Huntsville. Enough is ENOUGH!
Burning Bridges with Law Enforcement
Sheriff Franklin has burned bridges with most surrounding law enforcement agencies. Those bridges will require some professional apologies to mend those bridges. That will not happen under the current regime. Sheriff Franklin considers herself commander in chief, and until that mentality is parked and is brought down to earth, the bridges will remain burned. The arrogance in the command staff at the Sheriff’s Office is completely out of control and detrimental to the full effectiveness of law enforcement in the county. Sheriff Franklin is camera happy, press happy and loves to take credit for other department’s work.
The administrative deputy (a created position) Larry Berzett who likes to dress like Walker Texas Ranger, (and frankly, folks, someone needs to tell him how people laugh at him in public) travels south on Highway 31 in Hartselle, is detected on radar at a speed we are told approx. 30 mph over the speed limit and REFUSES to pull over for a Hartselle police officer. The officer just happened to recognize him and pulled off. Two hours later traveling north on Highway 31 in nearly the same location, traveling in excess of 90 mph, he is again detected on radar by an Alabama State Trooper and REFUSES to pull over. Berzett asks his dispatcher by radio to call the trooper to see what the trooper wants.
The Sheriff did not scold her admin deputy for his incidents; she instead demanded the troopers TRANSFER the trooper out of Morgan County. A Trooper who was doing his job. A burned bridge, a major display of arrogance. The law applies to everyone else, but not to the S.O. How can her supporters defend that? How can anyone defend that? And no, folks, he was not on a call. Mr. Berzett is the jail administrator, he does not answer calls. The question still exists as to his APOST certification. The position description that the sheriff developed for Berzett calls the APOST certification of the equivalent to APOST certification. Whatever that means.
The Sheriff as reported on this blog did insert herself in the Stevens homicide in Decatur. So be fair Sheriff Blakely, to be fair. If it is not the Sheriff’s investigation, the sheriff should be PROFESSIONAL enough to go to a scene, make contact with the commanding officer, and say “what do you need” That is how it is done. Whether it offends or not, the Decatur Police is much larger and much more advanced than the Sheriff’s Office. DPD is the largest law enforcement agency in the county. If they need help, they will ask for it. In the Stevens case, two of the largest municipal law enforcement departments in North Alabama were on the scene and had the standoff under control, until two sheriffs decided to GRANDSTAND and take over. Another burned bridge.
A suspicious package was found on a tanker rail car at an industrial plant in the City of Decatur’s police jurisdiction. DPD was on the scene, set up a perimeter, evacuated area businesses diverted traffic. Then along came Ana, who arrived after all of this was started and tried to take over the scene. DPD commanders had to more than once told her they had it under control. So she offered finally to relieve DPD’s traffic units and her units directed traffic, but not without a little drama. She called in her mobile command post, parking it at Marvin’s on the Beltline just so all of us voters could see she was on the job. DPD has a rather huge mobile command center but they are not into publicity and did not think it was necessary. Another burned bridge.
A multi-agency sex offender roundup was conducted by the US Marshals with the assistance of local law enforcement departments and state law enforcement in Morgan County. It was the US Marshal's Operation and the Marshals Commander told the police chiefs and the Sheriff that he would be conducting the press conference at the conclusion of the roundup and that he wanted the police chiefs and the Sheriff present at his news conference. At the conclusion, there was no press, and there was no Sheriff. They found the Sheriff conducting a news conference in the parking lot about “her department's round up“. The commander from the Marshal Service, who is not shy, had some words with the Sheriff when she returned from her news conference, and he told her they would not be working with her again. Another burned bridge
Folks, law enforcement is full of glory hounds, the “look at me” types. They are dangerous, they are misleading, and they serve for all the wrong reasons. In 2015 Sheriff Franklin has been absent from office her more than she has been there. Based on our very frustrated sources in the department since the Spring of 2015 until November she has been in the office maybe two full weeks. She does at times come in for her staff meetings on Tuesdays, and then disappears. But if she is in the county, but not at the office and when something big happens that means cameras and the press, then she suddenly appears, just ask the Decatur PD if this is not true. Even the reporters laugh about this, as we cover in the next part.
The Sheriff and the Press
First and foremost, the Decatur Daily has never been a very good newspaper, people know that across the State of Alabama. But in recent years, it has gotten really worse. If you read the DAILY they have attacked any mistake made by the Decatur and Hartselle Police Departments, but you never ever see any negative press concerning the Sheriff’s Department, at least not since reporter Cheryl Marsh left the DAILY. The DAILY went after Sheriff Bartlett, but what he did pales in comparison as to what is going on now in the MCSO. We at the Whistle Blower (and it is we, a staff) do not like what we see, so we report. We are looking into what the press use to do, and should now be looking into. but will not. So we are going to give you an example. One of our staff (long before we saw the need to start the blog) spoke with the AG candidate for sheriff during the last campaign. He was interviewed by a DAILY reporter how he would use discretionary funds and report the expenditures to the public. The story never appeared. The reporter told the candidate that the story was finished and on his desk, but his editor wasn’t going to allow for it to be published. The same thing happened when we sent proof to the Daily that Jonathan Stebbins the Sheriff’s common law son-in-law was hired by the sheriff as a corrections officer. The proof was their just ignored.
We have learned the news media in Huntsville have also been contacted. Folks, it's not the reporters, it is their managers and editors who are refusing to allow the reporters to look into the Morgan County Sheriff That is why we got together and started this blog. To inform, to educate, and to bring justice back to Morgan County. We are doing what the press SHOULD BE DOING and until the climate changes our staff will keep on reporting.
Next The Sheriff and her Promotional System