MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The head of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency says a state aircraft was used in 2014 to deliver Gov. Robert Bentley’s forgotten wallet to him at the beach.
Law Enforcement Secretary Stan Stabler made the statement Wednesday in response to reports that state resources were used to deliver the governor’s wallet. He says Bentley did not request the air delivery method.
Stabler, in defending the move, says it is the job of the dignitary protection unit to make sure public officials they protect are equipped to carry out their constitutional duties.
Stabler says his predecessor, Spencer Collier, approved the decision, but Collier disputed that.
Collier, who was fired by Bentley last month, says he didn’t know about the wallet and did not send aviation resources to retrieve it.
Statement from the ALEA:
The Code of Alabama Section 36-33-2 charges the Department of Public Safety, now ALEA, with the duty of protecting the person of the governor and outlines requirements. Furthermore, 36-33-2 (d) states: the director may use any personnel or equipment of the department for the protection or security, or both, of any protectee designated in this chapter, at any personal, political, official, campaign-related, or recreational event.
“The Dignitary Protection Unit of ALEA does what is necessary to protect and safeguard its protectees and provide assistance to ensure protectees are fully prepared to perform their duties as constitutional officers. Often, items are relayed to protectees – whether it be files, a briefcase, medicine, etc.,” Secretary of Law Enforcement Stan Stabler said. “In December 2014, I received notification from Governor Bentley that he traveled to his home in Fort Morgan and inadvertently left his wallet in Tuscaloosa. I contacted my chain of command and ultimately received approval from former Secretary Spencer Collier, to utilize ALEA’s aviation unit to pick-up and deliver the wallet to the Governor. Governor Bentley did not request a specific method be used to relay his wallet from Tuscaloosa to Fort Morgan – the decision to utilize department equipment to facilitate the request was made through ALEA’s chain of command, using standard agency protocol.”