Sheriff Franklin apparently won the battle over the purchase of $400,000 dollars worth of radios and equipment effectively closing the door to the sheriff turning over dispatch responsibility to the Morgan County 911 Center. According to an article in the Decatur Daily.
We have to wonder what in the world the Morgan County Commission is thinking. Does the Commission realize or care about shortfalls within the county and the State of Alabama as a whole? Does the County Commission care that what the sheriff wants and is getting is a duplication of effort. Does the County Commission realize that MOST OF THE COUNTIES IN THE STATE ARE MANAGED BY THE 911 DISPATCH? Isn't Limestone county the only other county in Alabama that manages their own dispatch. Do you see and smell a pattern? Does the commission realize how many MCSO employees are living within or near the poverty level? Does the County Commission realize how far $400,000.00 would go in bringing the MCSO employees pay up to the Alabama Law Enforcement Standard pay scale? Why would the county commission approve an action to spend $400,000.00 to duplicate an effort that is already in place with the 911 dispatch?
We are calling on ALL of the citizens of Morgan County Alabama to contact Governor Bentley at (334) 242-7100 and express your opinion of the fraud, waste, and abuse of taxpayer, state, and local funds.
Folks, when you allow the sheriff's office to manage their own dispatch you have allowed the fox in the hen house. This action gives the sheriff's office an unfair advantage in court, it is unfair to citizens, it is unfair to her first responders, it is unfair to our open and honest judicial system, and it is unfair to the defense attorneys and their clients. Why? This process allows the sheriff's office to be the sole overseer of valuable potential evidence in discrepancies in traffic stops, on site communications between the sheriff's office and their deputies, the first responders, communications at alleged crime scenes, arrests, civil, criminal, and federal litigation. We the citizens are trusting Sheriff Ana Franklin to manage, process, and handle our potential evidence AKA Dispatch Records on a wide range of cases. The sheriff is worried because of the large number of untrained and uneducated first responders that she hired is a serious liability to her. The sheriff knows that the loss of the dispatch will seriously adversely affect "her" during litigation. There will be no more cutting and pasting of dispatch records, no more loss of the hard copy verbatim written communications of the dispatch records, and no more deception. This issue is a grave shortfall in protecting valuable evidence from being tampered with. This issue gives one party an unfair advantage over critical evidence. The state's job is to lay out the truth based on untampered evidence. The state has an unfair advantage before you, Joe citizen, ever have your first day in court. This is the case even over a simple traffic stop that you protest in a court of law where records of communications are subpoenaed. The state AKA the DA wants the truth. The DA does not want documents or evidence that has been tampered with. Tampered evidence is a huge liability for the DA. This sheriff' has already proven that the laws do not apply to her through her ethics violations, nepotism, cronyism, favoritism, financial ledgers and independent financial audits that do not come close to the State Examiners Audits. Why would we want to continue trusting her with dispatch records? Why would we want to duplicate a costly effort? Where is the proof that shows that the sheriff's offices in the State of Alabama and the people have suffered because the sheriff's do not manage their own dispatch. Why do we want to trust a sheriff who rarely comes to work with critical and valuable records. Each and every elected official in Morgan County has seen enough and heard enough from the citizens that they know something within the sheriff's office isn't right. No other elected official within the county or the state would take the risk of hiring their daughter, or their common law son-in-law, or practice unfair hiring practices, and preferential treatment to favored or golden ones. Why? Because you want to be reelected and because you know this behavior is wrong. The difference between you folks and the sheriff is that she doesn't care if it's wrong. You can't trust Sheriff Ana Franklin. Defense attorney after defense attorney in Morgan County has gone to court with this sheriff's office and asked fair questions to the court about the lack of evidence, missing evidence, and dispatch history presented against their client. The sheriff has nothing but lame lip service. In case after case the sheriff or her representative claimed that they could not locate video of the incident, evidence, audio, etc. We are aware of a case where dispatch records was chopped up and completely worthless when the defense attorney received the records from the sheriff.
911 does not have a dog in the fight between the sheriff's office and the citizens of our county who are innocent until proven guilty. 911 dispatch does not have a dog in the fight between the citizens and the first responders. Their job is to record the facts as they stand and provide the facts to the state's attorney, defense attorneys, civil, criminal, and federal judicial systems. 911 does not have a dog in the fight in civil, criminal, and federal lawsuits that make it to the judicial systems. 911 is the only honest broker between the citizens and the sheriff's office. The same way they are for all of Morgan County fire and rescue, municipalities, Decatur PD, and the first responders. Sheriff Franklin does not want you to see or hear what happens when the drug task force bust down the wrong Mr. Brown's door and arrest him in front of his children and his wife, or when the drug task forces bust down doors of residents who are not at home and kill their dog, or when the sheriff has inmates and civilian employees collecting evidence at crime scenes. The sheriff wants the sheriff's office dispatch communications all to herself for her protection not her employees protection. How do we trust a sheriff who hires her family, looks over qualified APOST certified deputies in favor of unqualified deputies, hires convicted criminals, and allows convicted criminals to carry guns and play reserve deputies. One source told us of a lady who was arrested by one of the sheriff's favored ones. The lady was rough-housed by the responder, arrested, her phone was used while she was in jail by sheriff's employees, and according to the lady the sheriff personally called her and tried to pay her for damages because she did not want another lawsuit. Hay! the lady is willing to take a polygraph. What can we say???? There are three other citizens who have filed or plan on filing lawsuits because the same first responder did the same thing to them. These cases could easily be proven or disproven with dispatch communications between the first responders and dispatch, cameras, and audio. The dispatch records reflect all communications between the first responder and dispatch, how long the first responders were on the scene, actions taken by the first responders, and conditions at the scene. The whole story can be told with the dispatch records. Can you see why the sheriff does not want to transfer those services to an outside independent agency to manage? The best way for the sheriff to protect the unqualified people she hires is to manage her own dispatch, it's all about control. The loss of the sheriff's dispatch will not affect the honest and honorable first responders or the honest and honorable drug task force members, or the dispatchers, or an honest sheriff.
To discuss Barney's behavior during the meeting is pointless. He was just showing his true colors. The same way the County Commission and the Sheriff are with the duplication of effort with the sheriff's on personal dispatch, and the fraud, waste, and abuse of $400,000.00. The lack of caring and concern for the sheriff's office employees who work within and near the poverty level is a disgrace to this county. What else could we expect from a Lame Duck commission and their spineless acceptance of bad behavior and excessive spending by the sheriff? What else could we expect from the county commissioner Ray Long who was given a sheriff's office employee's written complaint against the sheriff and gave the complaint to the sheriff instead of staffing the complaint to the appropriate authorities i.e., Department of Labor or the EEOC for appropriate action. The Morgan County Commission doesn't care about the citizens and the citizens rights, no more than they cared about the sheriff's office employee who filed a personnel action against the sheriff. Who writes the sheriff's checks? Who writes the sheriff's employees checks? Who has to approve the $400,000.00 dispatch equipment and records? The buck stops at the feet of the Morgan County Commissioner's Office.