Dozier threatens to cut allocation for deputy

Published 12:24 am Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Dozier Town Council and residents of Dozier told the Crenshaw County sheriff they want the patrol they are paying for or they will stop contributing funds to have a patrol deputy assigned to the town.

Council members and residents began questioning the arrangement after the First National Bank of Dozier was robbed on Dec. 23.

Sheriff Mickey Powell said that he has had two officers quit in the last nine months, and that he recently hired Quinton “Q” Benton as the new deputy for South Crenshaw County.

Powell told those gathered at the Dozier Town Council meeting Monday night that the town has never had 24/7 coverage.

The Crenshaw County Sheriff’s Department has six patrol officers, two investigators, one resource officer and one chief deputy, in addition to the sheriff, he said.

“We are down here at times you don’t realize,” he said.

Since May 2014, the town of Dozier and the Dozier Housing Authority have been remitting $2,333 per month to the Crenshaw County Commission for patrol. In addition, the council provides office space in town hall, a computer, Internet and restroom facilities to the deputy.

Local businesswoman Jan Cook told Powell that she wants the deputy to be available when her businesses close because they close at the same time and they have money.

“We haven’t had that in a long time,” she said. “We really need that from my vantage point.”

Powell told her that someone isn’t always available because they are tending to other calls.

Cook asked what Dozier residents get for their money.

“The deputy is assigned to South Crenshaw County,” he said.

Cook told Powell the town had paid their place.

“You’re getting way more than anyone else,” he said. “One deputy cannot cover all.”

Powell attributed the lack of coverage to the shortage of Alabama State Troopers.

“We used to have four troopers in our county, we are down to two,” he said. “If an accident happens, we have to sit there at the accident until the trooper gets there. That’s tying up my department.”

City Clerk Katie Dean asked Powell how many other towns are paying for deputy patrol.

Powell said none.

Former Mayor Buddy Dean said that the residents of Dozier were already paying taxes and now extra, and that at times they hadn’t seen a deputy for months at a time.

“You could call us and say, I’m short handed,” Dean said. “Don’t send me some money. And riding through once a week isn’t cutting it.”

Cook asked Powell if the limitations he outlined were keeping him from giving the coverage needed.

“I’m saying if a deputy had intentions of coming to Dozier, and we have a wreck, he has to go there,” Powell said.

Cook said that they go weeks without a deputy.

“I know you have good intentions,” she said. “But I don’t know if the citizens want to continue to pay for good intentions. We are part of Crenshaw. We are supposed to get more.”

Resident Thomas Bush told Powell that he expected him to do what he says he was going to do.

Bush said he’s concerned about the elderly in the town and children, as well as the businesses.

“(The bank) was a lucky deal,” he said.

Bush asked Powell how many “pedophiles” lived in Dozier.

Powell said he wasn’t sure of the exact number.

Dean said there was 116.

“You’re supposed to know,” Bush said. “They are supposed to be reporting to you.”

Linda Pittman, who works at the Dozier Hardware, said residents want the deputy to be seen.

“We need him in the day,” she said. “We want our 40 hours a week we are paying for, and with deputy coverage we are entitled to that would cover it.”

Powell told her that Benton was still learning everything.

Bush told Powell that if he wasn’t helping with a solution to the problem, he was part of the problem.

“I’m not the problem,” Powell said.

Bush said that the state troopers patrol more in Dozier than the deputy.

The school resource officer on Powell’s staff is paid for by the Crenshaw County Board of Education, and the resource officer works at the school for his 40 hours, except in emergency situations.

Dean told Powell that the town wanted the deputy there for 40 hours a week.

“Not when it is convenient,” she said. “We want to know 100 percent, he’s our man.”

Councilwoman Marquita Davis suggested the council give them a two-week trial run.

“If we don’t see anything better,” she said. “We quit paying.”