Skip Navigation Links

Alabama Department of Homeland SecurityAlabama Fusion Center
Alabama Office of Prosecution Services Computer Forensics LabAlabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board
Alabama Bureau of InvestigationAlabama Forestry Commission Enforcement Division
Alabama Department of Agriculture and IndustriesAlabama Criminal Justice Information Center
Alabama Department of Public SafetyAlabama Marine Police
Alabama Public Service CommissionAlabama Department of Revenue
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency
ALEA Division Map
Click Here for Higher Resolution

Legacy Agencies


Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Enforcement
Alabama Department of Homeland Security
Office of Prosecution Services Computer Forensic Laboratories
Alabama Department of Public Safety
Alabama Bureau of Investigation
Alabama Marine Police
Alabama Forestry Commission
Alabama Department of Revenue
Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center
Alabama Fusion Center
Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries
Alabama Public Service Commission

Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board*

The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Enforcement Division is responsible for regulating the sale of alcohol and tobacco products as set forth in Title 28, Code of Alabama, 1975, as amended. It includes the enforcement of the ABC Board's Rules and Regulation and the licensing of all alcoholic beverage manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and retailers.

The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board was established by the passage of the Alabama Beverage Control Act in February 1937. Title 28, Chapter 3, Section 2 of the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Act provided for a police power for the “protection of the public welfare, health, peace and morals” of the people of Alabama and prohibited transactions in liquor, alcohol, malt and brewed beverages, taking place within the state, except by and under control of the Board. In 1997, the responsibility to issue retail sales permits, regulate and enforce the laws related to underage access to tobacco products were added. In 2006, the responsibility to regulate and register retail establishments selling methamphetamine precursors was added. Today, the ABC Board operates 173 ABC Stores and seven Enforcement Divisions that provide for the safety of the state’s citizens through licensing, education and drug and alcohol enforcement activities. The ABC Warehouse, located in the Central Office in Montgomery, supplies all of the liquor sold in the state. ABC Enforcement officers also provide security for the Governor’s Office.

The ABC Board controls alcoholic beverages throughout the state through controlled distribution, licensing, regulation, law enforcement and education. Youth access to tobacco products is controlled through retail sales permits, regulation, law enforcement and education. Methamphetamine precursors are regulated through retail sales registration, education and law enforcement efforts.

Operating expenses are paid by consumers of alcoholic beverages, tobacco manufacturers and federal grant funding. Members of the general public are not taxed to cover ABC Board expenses unless they purchase controlled product; still, they do benefit from ABC operations through increased public safety and revenue distribution to cities, counties, state agencies and the state’s General Fund. It is the ABC Board’s goal to maintain a safe, reliable and efficient distribution network of controlled products while maintaining an extremely professional level of public safety programs to ensure responsibility in the distribution, possession and consumption of these products. ABC’s law enforcement officers are well-trained and operate at the highest level of professional police standards.

Alabama Department of Homeland Security

Alabama's Legislature was the first in the nation to create in 2003 a Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security as part of the state's Executive Branch. The agency was designed to develop, coordinate and implement a state policy to secure the state of Alabama from terrorist threat or attack.

The Department of Homeland Security works with federal, state and local partners to prevent and respond to terrorism in Alabama.

The department works closely with the public and private sectors in law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire services, agriculture, public health, public safety, communications, environmental management, military and transportation. There are four divisions within DHS designed to ensure the safety of Alabama citizens. The department accomplishes this by providing protection against all infrastructure sites across the state, as well as scientific and technological research and protection against terrorism. In addition, the department coordinates emergency preparedness and response activities relating to terrorist events, and it manages security strategic planning.

Office of Prosecution Services Computer Forensic Laboratories

The Alabama Computer Forensic Laboratories, created by the Alabama District Attorneys Association, directly supports district attorneys and other criminal justice entities across the state as they investigate and/or prosecute criminal offenses that may involve digital evidence.

Alabama Department of Public Safety

The mission of the Alabama Department of Public Safety is to protect and serve Alabama's residents equally and objectively, enforce state laws and uphold the constitutions of the United States and the state of Alabama. Its sworn and non-sworn personnel are charged with promoting traffic safety by enforcing traffic laws, issuing driver licenses, curtailing criminal activity by initiating investigations and/or providing investigative assistance to other agencies, and preserving life and protecting property by responding to natural disasters, riots and other emergencies.

"Gentlemen, if I have made a mistake, I'll soon correct that," said Gov. Bibb Graves on Jan. 10, 1936, as he introduced the charter members of the Alabama Highway Patrol to the public they were to serve. Retired Capt. Charles O'Gwynn, one of those 74 officers who formed the nucleus of the state's fledgling Highway Patrol, said Gov. Graves spoke these words in earnest. "He sure meant it; he stood by it," O'Gwynn remembered. "Your conduct had to be exemplary in those days in order to stay on the patrol. I can remember men who misbehaved, and they were gotten rid of quick-like."

Indeed, Gov. Graves had promised the state a highway patrol when campaigning for a second term in office. He had been a keen observer of the work of Alabama's two "highway officers," H.B. "Bill" Moody and C.M. Thorsen, during Gov. Benjamin Miller's administration. These two officers, working out of the State Highway Department, were charged with enforcing all Alabama highway and carrier laws statewide. Ten more highway officers were added during Gov. Miller's term; but Gov. Graves recognized the physical impossibility of the officers' tasks, as well as the need for a statewide law enforcement agency. Thus, on Dec. 5, 1935, Gov. Graves made good on his campaign promise with the creation of the Alabama Highway Patrol.

Breaking new ground

On a cold, cloudy December day 50 years later, seven of the motorcycle-mounted charter Highway Patrol officers of 1935 were honored during a 50th Anniversary celebration of the Alabama Department of Public Safety. Luke English -- speaking for L.A. Bennett, Robert Chestnut, C.T. Donaldson, William Floyd Dyar, Allen Hargrove and W.J. Williams -- recalled those early years:

"I am really proud to be a charter member of the state troopers. And when we started out in 1935, we didn't have but 75 members (including Chief Walter K. McAdory), and most of us were riding motorcycles ... After I got broke up a couple of times, I decided to get in a car and stay there. We stayed down at the hotel for four weeks, about three or four weeks, in training -- waiting for our uniforms to come in. The uniforms were slow coming in, and we were very proud of them, and we got to be close together, very close. We got to be real good friends that way. And it's amazing how it's grown from 75 troopers to almost 1,200 (total employees) ... And of course, there's a little difference in the pay, too, now and back in those days. But back in those days, we had to have some groceries, and we were mighty glad to have the jobs."

The Department of Public Safety has grown and prospered during its years, always in response to the changing needs of law enforcement. It has evolved from a fledgling force of motorcycle-mounted Highway Patrol officers to a multifaceted, comprehensive, statewide law enforcement agency.

Safer drivers, safer roadways

Although testing of drivers was unheard of in 1935, the first provision for driver licenses was mandated by the Legislature that year. Each driver was required to buy a license for 50 cents, and the proceeds were earmarked to pay for Highway Patrol equipment and salaries. In addition to a revenue-producing measure, the new law was counted on to help reduce highway accidents, a continuing concern of the Department of Public Safety.
The new Highway Patrol officers began their missions in early 1936, after receiving their assignments throughout the state. By the end of the first nine months, the officers had logged 615,335 miles patrolling on motorcycles and 583,756 miles in automobiles. They inspected 8,951 vehicles for defective lights and brakes, issuing "courtesy cards" to call a motorist's attention to defects. They weighed more than 3,200 trucks and made some 7,000 arrests in enforcing Alabama's highway regulations. In addition, the officers began a continuing practice of assisting motorists, rendering aid to 5,269 that first year.

Charter member and former Director Bankhead Bates said Capt. Smith reinforced the early tradition of service to motorists: "He said, 'Now, by being helpful, I mean helpful. If you run across a stranded motorist and he's out of gas ... if you have to ride 50 miles, that's all right. You go get that man some gas, and put it in his car. And then if he tries to pay you for that service, which he probably will want to give you a little tip, you tell him, "No thank you, you paid for that when you bought your driver license. That pays my salary, and you don't owe me anything." That is what is going to be your foundation on this Highway Patrol.' And that was the foundation of the Highway Patrol. That's what's built the reputation of the Alabama Highway Patrol -- being courteous to people."

Even in 1936, drunken driving was a concern of the Highway Patrol officers, enough of a concern that Gov. Graves specified that the officers should "get the drunks off the roads." Officers made 689 arrests for driving while intoxicated and 271 arrests for public drunkenness that first year. Major Bates recalled making one DWI arrest of a man driving a wagon pulled by a mule. "At that time, they had a little quirk in the law there," he said. "It didn't say operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated, it said a vehicle. So we charged that rascal with DWI and put him in county jail."

Curbing crime

Highway Patrol officers also exercised their authority in other areas of law enforcement during their first months. They made four arrests for manslaughter, three for grand larceny, one for murder, two for assault with intent to murder and five for robbery. In addition, they recovered 60 stolen vehicles valued at more than $24,000. Capt. O'Gwynn said he and his partner, former Director Al Lingo, remembered making the patrol's first stolen auto case after stopping a driver for passing on a curve: "We stopped to give him a ticket, and Lingo, being a pretty good mechanic, when he looked for the motor number to put it on the arrest ticket, he saw the motor number had been tampered with. We pulled him on in to headquarters, and later we found out the car was stolen in Athens, Ga. So we had a federal case on our hands, transporting a stolen car. He was later indicted by a federal grand jury and sent to prison."

The Highway Patrol ended its first fiscal year in the black. Proceeds from driver license sales and fines collected -- both reserved for patrol operations -- more than paid for salaries, equipment and other expenses. Earmarking of fines, forfeitures and driver license fees continued as the means of funding for 20 years until changes by act of the legislature during Col. W.V. "Bill" Lyerly's tenure as director. The act provided that the patrol be placed on an annual budget to be funded by the state biennially. Although the Highway Patrol -- later to be renamed the Department of Public Safety -- produced and continues to produce revenue for the state, its conception was that of a service agency to be funded through the state's General Fund.
Throughout the 1930s, the Highway Patrol continued its growth. Three years after its formation, it employed 135 officers who patrolled nearly 3 million miles. The Highway Patrol began a tradition of law enforcement expansion and evolution in response to changing needs among Alabamians.

Time for change

The Highway Patrol faced its first major organizational change in 1939, under Gov. Frank M. Dixon and Chief T. Weller Smith. Gov. Dixon approved a bill on March 8, 1939, redesignating the patrol as the Alabama Department of Public Safety and giving Chief Smith the title of director of Public Safety. The new department had four divisions: Highway Patrol, Driver License, Accident Prevention Bureau, and Mechanical and Equipment. In addition to separating specific services of the department by division, the act prompted several significant changes.
Chief Smith began a new program of organizing, training and equipping the Highway Patrol Division. The most visible result of this program was the issuance of new white cars to patrol officers instead of the customary motorcycles. In addition, the uniforms took on a new appearance -- a blue and gray reportedly selected by Alabama's first lady. A further change, also of noticeable effect, was the awarding of statewide arrest powers to all officers. With the formation of the new department, its members, like other state employees, came under Alabama's merit system. In keeping with Smith's modernization of the department, officers were issued new weapons, including 12-gauge, 7-shot, semi-automatic, sawed-off shotguns; Thompson submachine guns; and .351 high-speed, long-range automatic rifles. All new recruits were trained thoroughly in handling the new weapons.

Gov. Dixon and Chief Smith also turned their attention to driver licensing. They believed that testing applicants before licensing would promote traffic safety and help in accident prevention. "Before letting the public use the roads with a machine that will kill somebody," said Smith, "they must be tested." The test was to determine an applicant's fitness to drive, knowledge of the rules of the road, and attitude toward law and highway safety. Two-year driver licenses were introduced, and cumulative files on each licensed driver were established. This filing system created a central repository for all driving offenses to provide guidance in suspension and revocation decisions. The new system was a far cry from that of 1935, when Chief McAdory carried around revoked licenses in his hip pocket.
Despite his other accomplishments, Smith failed in one primary objective: the establishment of a statewide two-way radio system for the Highway Patrol Division. In concert with Gov. Dixon, the director worked to set up the radio network. Their efforts were in vain, for it was well into the 1940s before the application was approved.

Public Safety entered the 1940s with its reputation clearly established among the public. The news magazine ALABAMA, which advertised itself as "The News Magazine of the Deep South," said comments about Alabama's patrol were uniform -- that of appreciation, of recognition for a job well done, and of service clearly rendered. It went on to point out that the patrol, with its new fleet of white cars and its slogan of "Drive Carefully, Save a Life," provided significant and valuable services in the daily promotion of traffic safety. Perhaps most importantly, the magazine noted that there were definite signs that the patrol was accomplishing its goal of making the public safety-conscious. Indeed, there were signs of increasing public response to campaigns to curb carelessness and recklessness on highways. In 1939, for example, officers made 2,000 fewer traffic arrests than the previous year, which indicated safety measures had been effective.

Moving forward

The advent of World War II saw Director Smith on active duty with the military. Gov. Dixon named Capt. J.F. Brawner director of Public Safety, and Brawner set out to continue the tradition established by his predecessors. Again, however, the department failed to establish a two-way radio system. In 1942, the war effort's material needs were so pressing that the country could not spare, even for law enforcement purposes, the radio parts necessary for establishing the system. It was two years later, under Gov. Chauncey Sparks and Director Van Buren Gilbert, that the long-awaited two-way radio system became fully operational. The radio system, for the first time, allowed continuous contact between patrol cars and their stations.
The impact of this was immediate. Officers saved miles of travel and were able to respond more promptly to accidents and other incidents. The radios gave officers the capability of immediately checking out suspected stolen vehicles, escaped prisoners and other law violators. Effective service range from car to station varied from 30 to 75 miles, while car-to-car communication ranged from 30 to 35 miles.

Stations and mobile units were strategically located to provide coverage for 95 percent of the state, including all main traffic arteries. Only in rare instances was a patrol car left with no communication with a station. Three of the stations -- Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile -- operated 24 hours a day. The other 10 stations -- Anniston, Decatur, Demopolis, Dothan, Evergreen, Gadsden, Huntsville, Opelika, Selma and Tuscaloosa -- operated 16 hours a day at times when traffic was heaviest.
In 1943, the Legislature required all drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents to submit written reports to Public Safety's director. The Accident Records Unit became responsible for seeing that requirements of the law were carried out. From the outset, the act's intended effect was accident prevention.

If the Highway Patrol was to make any real progress in its efforts to decrease the number of traffic crashes, officers needed specific information on the nature and causes of the crashes. An offshoot of the act was a new department publication, ''Accident Facts,'' which was published annually to aid in traffic safety and education.

World events also influenced department operations. During World War II, the Investigation and Identification Division was called upon to assist the Selective Service System in locating military AWOLs. In fact, nearly 80 percent of the division's investigations during the 1942-43 fiscal year were conducted for the Army, Navy and Selective Service. Traditionally, it conducted investigations and made reports for the Highway Patrol, Governor's Office, Attorney General's Office and other state departments. I&I, as it was known, also assisted the Federal Bureau of Investigation, county sheriffs, circuit solicitors and municipalities, upon request. It frequently investigated charges of sabotage, espionage and the like, and maintained an ever-expanding file of fingerprints.

The uniform of the Highway Patrol changed during the administration of Gov. Chauncey Sparks. Since most of the officers performed their duties in automobiles, and few still used motorcycles in patrolling the state's highways, the old boots and breeches -- part of the standard uniform since 1935 -- had outlived their usefulness. Gov. Sparks put the men into straight-legged trousers and regulation black shoes. Boots and boot breeches remained as special uniforms for those few officers still assigned to motorcycle duty.

A new direction

The election of Gov. James E. "Big Jim" Folsom in 1947 meant a new director for Public Safety, J.D. "Jake" Mitchell. Shortly after Mitchell's appointment, Folsom embarked on a series of changes within the department. One of the first was changing the color of patrol cars from white to blue and gray.

Gov. Folsom then abolished the classifications of senior and principal highway patrolmen. In so doing, he reinstituted the rank system of captain, lieutenant, sergeant and corporal. A third, more basic change in the department was the enlarging of the Driver License Division. This was done because the years following World War II witnessed a tremendous increase in the number of driver license sales. And, for the first time, officers actually entered the cities of Alabama to check for driver licenses within city limits. These activities placed increasing demands on the Driver License Division. In 1947, for example, Driver License personnel issued 676,567 driver licenses and 70,990 learner permits. They also gave 176,223 driving examinations.

These efforts paralleled a nationwide campaign in the late 1940s, aimed at curtailing traffic accidents and deaths, which climbed following the war. Rural traffic fatalities showed a marked increase in Alabama, although the overall mileage death rate actually declined.
Under Director Bankhead Bates, who succeeded Col. Jake Mitchell, the Investigative and Identification Division was dissolved by executive order. The investigators previously assigned to the division were divided equally among the patrol districts. It was hoped that such a plan would result in closer coordination of the activities of the criminal investigators and uniformed patrol officers, and that together they would render more expedient and efficient service.

This reorganization soon proved to be a failure, and in 1950, little more than one year later, Gov. Folsom reactivated the I&I Division. He did so by saying that for some time, various circuit solicitors, sheriffs and other state law enforcement officials insisted that the bureau be re-established within the department.

Alabama Department of Public Safety Thrives in the 21st Century

There’s a timeless nature to Public Safety’s work. Alabama’s original patrol officers embraced the values espoused in the department’s motto -- Courtesy, Service and Protection -- which formed a solid foundation for the challenges and demands in service that lay ahead. Today, almost eight decades later, DPS’s dedicated members continue to hold fast to these values, which continue to guide their service. Professionalism, ethics, efficiency and effectiveness have worked in concert to shape Public Safety’s service to the people of Alabama.
A glimpse of today’s DPS reveals an agency committed to upholding -- and maintaining -- the highest standards and expectations of state law enforcement.

Fundamental changes at the Alabama Criminal Justice Training Center have redefined training at DPS. The department’s state-of-the-art training facility opened at the end of 2010 on the campus of Wallace Community College Selma in partnership with Postsecondary Education, affording troopers-in-training an opportunity to earn college credit. Internally, the academy restructured its staff and completed a comprehensive curriculum review to ensure purposeful, adult-based training and education. The academy is developing centers of excellence in areas of law enforcement specialization to provide troopers and other officers throughout the Southeast with the unique skills and abilities required to excel in meeting the demands of their profession. In addition, an unprecedented leadership development program for sworn and non-sworn personnel is taking the department to the next level, helping DPS raise up leaders to assure mission fulfillment and long-term viability.

Advances in Licensing

Alabama is recognized internationally for its superior, secure driver licensing system, which is designed to combat identity theft and driver license fraud. DPS understands the importance of driver licensing to individuals and institutions, and it effectively safeguards the security and integrity of the licensing system. Each year, Alabama makes more than 3,000 arrests in the course of driver licensing as a result of this division’s exacting screening process.

During the past decade, division employees have re-established customer service as a priority and have implemented fiscally responsible and environmentally friendly innovations to better serve constituents. These changes include expanded online services allowing applicants to schedule skills tests. The division also has streamlined on-site services to significantly reduce wait times and trim the use of paper. More recently, Driver License tested Rapid Renewal self-serve kiosks at two locations across the state and now is preparing to place additional machines in offices across the state. These kiosks, which look similar to arcade games, provide individuals with an opportunity to renew driver licenses or non-driver IDs without waiting to see an examiner.

Assistance from the Air

Public Safety’s Aviation Unit is involved in every aspect of public safety. From searching for missing people to manhunts for felony fugitives, this unit is the aerial support mechanism covering the entire state. Since 2010, DPS’s Aviation Unit has been involved in the long-line rescue of 13 people in different areas of the state, and it also has been called on to support the Alabama Department of Forestry with fire suppression using its 180-gallon “bambi bucket.” In fact, in June 2011, trooper pilots used the bambi bucket to dump more than 100,000 gallons of water onto a 250-acre wildfire at Gulf State Park.
The unit also is responsible for transporting government officials and DPS’s protective details in an effort to enhance the efficiency of state business. In addition to frequent search-and-rescue missions, DPS Aviation has taken over the role of Project Lifesaver International coordinator for the entire state, training other agencies in the quick location of people who have cognitive disorders, wander and become lost.

Marijuana Eradication

Working closely with DPS’s Aviation Unit, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation’s Marijuana Eradication Unit is tasked with traveling to each county in the state to locate and destroy marijuana plants being covertly cultivated.
In 1982, when the federal Drug Enforcement Administration-sponsored program was launched, home-grown marijuana was recognized as a top cash crop in Alabama. Through the eradication program, officers seek to destroy as much of the crop as possible before it reaches the streets. It has become a major cooperative effort among law enforcement agencies throughout the state and has consistently ranked among the most effective programs in the United States.

Combating CyberCrimes and Finding Missing Persons

The ABI also includes the CyberCrimes Unit to investigate the use of computers, other digital devices and the Internet to perpetrate criminal activity. During the past six years, direct-hire special agents have joined the ranks of the ABI through a program designed to recruit experienced investigators directly into the division to immediately put to use their specialized skills and knowledge.

In 1985, the ABI formed its Missing Children Bureau, later renamed the Alabama Center for Missing and Exploited Children, in response to the growing need for a central information and investigation unit to serve missing children and adults. At that time, the bureau adopted a comprehensive approach to locating missing persons and preventing disappearances by working with local law enforcement agencies, government agencies, and other public and private organizations. In its first year, ABI located and recovered 40 missing persons, assisted in locating and recovering some 250 other missing children and adults, and helped identify four previously unidentified bodies.

International Headlines

The end of January 2013 marked the beginning of six long, tension-filled days in Midland City, a tiny Dale County community. After an armed Jimmy Lee Dykes fatally shot school bus driver Charles Albert Poland, he fled the bus with a 5-year-old named Ethan and retreated to a self-made underground bunker on his property in rural south Alabama.
Within the first few hours, Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson formally requested DPS’s assistance, and the department deployed numerous personnel and assets to join the multi-agency effort.
Highway Patrol provided tactical operations, traffic control and scene security. Aviation provided a helicopter and pilots. ABI agents also were involved as there was a capital murder investigation and an ongoing kidnapping situation, which required around-the-clock negotiations, intelligence gathering and threat assessment. Public Information/Education personnel also assisted the sheriff -- and Ethan’s family -- in dealing with international media outlets. TV and print reporters “camped out” across U.S. 231 from Dykes’ property the entire time as they waited for updates.

The afternoon of the sixth day, negotiations with Dykes deteriorated. When federal, state and local officials agreed Ethan was in imminent danger, they initiated a tactical breach of the bunker. Ultimately, the little boy was rescued unharmed, and Dykes was killed during an exchange of gunfire with the hostage rescue team.

State-of-the-Art Communications

Public Safety’s Headquarters Communications Center, housed within the Special Projects Division, is a modern telecommunications center providing interoperable radio communications throughout the state of Alabama in support of the regional Highway Patrol dispatch offices. In addition, Headquarters Communications meets the day-to-day communications needs of Capitol Police Officers.

Texting While Driving

Alabama made huge strides in May 2012, when Gov. Robert Bentley signed into law House Bill 2, a measure outlawing texting while driving. DPS’s current director, Col. Hugh B. McCall, was present that day along with Rep. Jim McClendon, who served as the House sponsor of the legislation with Sen. Jabo Waggoner as the Senate sponsor. The law prohibits anyone from operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway while text messaging on a handheld cell phone or other handheld wireless communication device, and it is aimed at saving lives by reducing distractions and encouraging drivers to focus on driving.

The Colonel and Governor further stressed the dangers of texting while driving by partnering to introduce a powerful anti-texting video titled “The Last Text.” Released officially in October 2012, the video is still being distributed to high schools across the state and is being used in driver’s education classes.

Highway Safety

Highway and traffic safety remain the department’s core mission priority, with both sworn and non-sworn members working to increase safety for all who share Alabama’s roadways. Public Safety continues to blend highly trained troopers and technology to patrol the state’s roadways and enforce traffic laws, making every citation, every mile, every contact with motorists count. Even in leaner times, as the department trimmed expenditures for such items as fuel, DPS’s current director, Col. McCall, continued to promote traffic safety by encouraging troopers to periodically park their marked patrol vehicles in highly visible spots along roadways as a fuel-efficient reminder to motorists to slow down, buckle up and obey the rules of the road.

Public Safety also has brought about safer roadways through strategic enforcement and aggressive highway safety initiatives during holiday travel periods and other times. Combining these programs, made possible through funding from the Alabama Department of Transportation and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, with strong public awareness and education components round out the efforts. The Highway Patrol Division also has discovered using data-driven enforcement allows troop command staffs to analyze where, how and when crashes occur, review crash severity, and tailor enforcement plans to meet the needs of each region.

Additionally, through partnerships with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Alabama Trucking Association, Public Safety has initiated Targeting Aggressive Cars and Trucks (TACT), to target aggressive driving in the vicinity of commercial motor vehicles. An enduring partnership with ALDOT provides extra enforcement and patrols in construction zones and other targeted areas as countermeasures to identified threats to safety. DPS’s overall approach to highway and traffic safety is intentional and strategic. Deploying every resource to its greatest effect has resulted in lives saved. That always has been the goal – to save lives. No matter how technology and the public’s needs change, the Alabama Department of Public Safety’s mission will remain constant, carrying the department further into the 21st century.

Alabama Bureau of Investigation

The Alabama Bureau of Investigation, the investigative division of the Alabama Department of Public Safety, provides investigative services in support of other members of the criminal justice system in Alabama. Its work also includes such services as latent print, hazardous device detection and removal to assist law enforcement partners across Alabama.

Alabama Marine Police

A division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Alabama Marine Police patrol public waterways, supervise the registration of non-commercial boats and boat operator licensing and educate the public through various programs.

The “boating boom” that began after World War II and accelerated after the Korean War in the 1950s, provided the impetus for addressing safety on our waterways. The proliferation of watercraft on the nation’s waterways and the subsequent increase in boating-related fatalities prompted the U.S. Congress to pass the 1958 Boating Safety Act, better known as the Bonner Act for its sponsor, Congressman Herbert C. Bonner of North Carolina. States were given the options of federal administration of this act or an opportunity to initiate state Legislation to comply. Alabama elected to initiate state Legislation, and passed it into law in 1959.

On November 19, 1959, Gov. John Patterson signed into law Legislative Act 576, creating the Water Safety Division, which the Alabama Department of Conservation activated November 25, 1959. Mr. William C. Younger, director of Conservation, sent a memorandum to General Jack Parsons, State Parks Division chief, designating him as Acting Division Chief of the newest division in addition to the work with State Parks. The Legislature appropriated $30,000 to implement this Legislation. At this point, the division consisted of the acting chief and one secretary.

In January 1960, Tom G. Shackelford was appointed permanent chief of the Water Safety Division, and by June of that year, boat registration fees provided sufficient funding to employ 10 water patrol officers and two supervisors. That first year, 66,000 boats were registered.

Founding members were: Chief Shackelford and supervisors Captain Jesse Adams and Captain John Carter; and officers Walter C. Burns, George E. Cox, Earl L. Dees, Lawrence A. Gohagan, Roger W. Mayfield, Fred Reed, Robert L. Reed, Bobby G. Smith, Erston S. Toney and James G. Ward.

After a one-week intensive training, each patrolman was assigned to one of 10 districts, and each district consisted of five to eight counties. The first patrol units consisted of 10 outboard-powered fiberglass boats (16-foot Crosbys) with 80 HP Mercury motors. These boats were used until 1962, when the more fuel-efficient inboard/outboard drives were purchased. In 1962, because of public need, the Water Safety Division assumed responsibility for marking hazards and establishing restricted areas in the interest of safety. In 1963, the first full-time marine mechanic, L.D. “Shorty” Moss, was employed. In 1965, a 10-by-50-foot mobile exhibit was purchased, and it was used across the state to enhance the existing public education program.

In the early years of the Division, employment of enforcement officers was a “revolving door.” The average longevity for a water patrol officer was about two years. It was partly because of a lack of initial training and operational policies. This began to change, though, in January 1967, when seven new officers were hired and given on-the-water training for the first time. This training session lasted three days and proved to be inadequate. In November 1967, the first in-service training session for the Division took place at Riverside on Logan Martin Lake.

The next year, a boat maintenance shop was constructed in Montgomery, and it greatly enhanced the patrol unit’s availability in the field. In 1969, a 1,200-square-foot training facility was constructed at Eufaula, and it was used beginning in 1970 as the site of a three-week training center for 12 new officers.

As the Division entered the 1970s, it began a decade of change and progress. The 1971 Legislature approved Legislation to rename the Water Safety Division, which became the Marine Police Division. This Legislation also gave full police powers to the Marine Police as well as other law enforcement officers in the Department. Separate Legislation changed the name of the parent department to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, with a Department Commissioner and directors of divisions. In 1973, Colonel Walter L. Allen, Director of Public Safety, granted permission for the Marine Police Division to become part of Public Safety radio network as the ninth division of DPS. The importance of this event cannot be overstated. Prior to this time, Marine Police operated on the State Forestry radio network. Its forestry towers, however, were not operational on rainy days and at night. The move to the DPS radio network greatly enhanced the Division’s ability to respond to emergencies and complaints by providing an indirect link to the boating public and other law enforcement agencies. In addition to the public benefits, the recognition of the Marine Police as an integral part of the law enforcement community was a boost to the morale of the Division.

In 1974, boat registration records were computerized. This system, however, used the ABC Board’s database and was limited to in-house use. On July 31, 1976, Chief Shackelford retired, and William B. Garner, Chief of Enforcement for the Division, was appointed Acting Director. In 1977, boating registration records were added to the Criminal Justice Information System’s database, making boat registration records available on the NCIC network to all law enforcement agencies nationwide. In fact, Alabama was the second state in the nation to accomplish this. On Oct. 5, 1977, Chief Garner was named permanent director of the Division.

In February 1978, the Division hired its first black enforcement officer. Also that year, the division offered a home-study course to the boating public using the “Alabama Boating Basics” booklet. The first emergency shut-off switch (kill switch) regulation was promulgated this same year, and was the first regulation requiring kill switches in the nation.

On Oct. 1, 1978, centralized boat registration was implemented to require boat registrations by mail. This system was only in place during 1978-’79. The Legislature amended the law to eliminate the Division’s authority to continue central boat registration.

In 1986, a statewide television program, “Waterways,” was initiated through the state ETV network. Produced weekly, this 30-minute production continued through 1975.

Staggered boat registration was implemented on Oct. 1, 1989, making boat registration renewals compatible with automobile registration. In 1993, a District IV Headquarters was constructed at Orange Beach and became the Division’s first field headquarters.

The year 1994 was the high-water mark for the Marine Police Division. Through the initiative of Commissioner Charley Grimsley, the Alabama Legislature passed the most comprehensive boating safety reform act in the history of the Division, the Robertson/Archer Act. This Legislation – the first of its kind in the nation -- required all boat operators to obtain an operator’s license, established blood-alcohol levels for intoxication and increased penalties. Another first for the nation was the fact this Alabama law required boating education to be taught in public schools. The same year, the Marine Police employed its first female enforcement officers.

In 1995, the basic training facility at Eufaula was relocated to Whitehall on the Alabama River at Jones Bluff lock and dam. A District I headquarters was completed at Guntersville State Park. By July of 1995, a pilot boat operator’s license program was implemented. Two years later, in 1997, construction on District III headquarters was completed at Wind Creek State Park. In 2002, construction was completed on a District II headquarters at Alpine on Logan Martin Lake, and that completed the planned district headquarters construction.

Then, more recently, in October 2003, the Marine Police Division was merged administratively with the Wildlife and Fresh Water Fisheries Division.

Alabama Forestry Commission*

Established as a state agency in 1924, the mission of the Alabama Forestry Commission is three-fold: to protect forests from all harmful agents; to service and help landowners carry out responsible forest management on their property, using professional technical assistance so as to benefit themselves, their land and society; and to educate the general public about the value of our forests to ensure both a healthy economy and environment. The Forestry Commission is governed by a seven-member Board of Commissioners appointed by the Governor.

Alabama Department of Revenue*

The Alabama Department of Revenue Enforcement is responsible for investigating tax crimes and to deter tax cheating. Revenue shortages resulting from cheating inevitably may influence tax increases on everyone just to maintain the same level of funding for such important government services as education, roads, public safety and medical care.

The current revenue system of the state of Alabama has evolved through a series of Legislative enactments dating back to the early 1900s.

When the current state constitution was adopted in 1901, there were three primary revenue laws levying a general ad valorem property tax, a limited number of privilege licenses and a poll tax. Together, with the earnings from the State Convict Department, these sources of revenue produced almost all of the entire state receipts, which in 1900 amounted to $2,656, 350.78. One of the earliest revenue organizations was the State Board of Assessment. Composed of the Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor and State Treasurer, the board was responsible for assessing tangible property of public utilities and public service corporations.

A Legislative act of 1898-1899 provided for the office of State Tax Commissioner, whose duties were to “aid revenue officers in the state in the collection of escaped, delinquent, back taxes and licenses, in discovering and prosecuting by civil and criminal penalties and costs all evasions or violations of the revenue laws of this state, and in the perfecting of all tax titles made under laws of this state.” The State Tax Commissioner, who worked under the supervision of the state auditor, was authorized to appoint one county tax commissioner for each county in the state. Working in conjunction with the State Tax Commissioner was the State Tax Commission, created in 1907. The duty of the commission was to directly assess the intangible property of public utilities.

A major organizational change took place in 1915 with the dissolution of the State Board of Assessment and the creation of a State Board of Equalization. This board, which assumed the duties of the State Tax Commission, was required to assess all tangible and intangible property of public utilities and public service corporations.

The State Board of Equalization lasted until 1919, when the State Tax Commission was re-established. At that time, there was an attempt to assume the task of direct tax collection. Although an income tax law was passed, the Supreme Court declared the tax unconstitutional. Also significant in 1919 was the passage of the General Revenue Act, which authorized the State Tax Commission to issue tags to motor vehicle dealers, issue replacement tags and collect charges for those services. The office of Tax Adjuster was created as part of this act but abolished several years later.

A second Revenue Act, passed in 1923, gave the State Tax Commission the power to directly assess the shares of domestic corporations. During this year, the first of a series of taxes on gasoline was levied. The next few years brought additional duties to the State Tax Commission with the levying and direct collection of various taxes, among them taxes on tobacco, lubricating oil, gross receipts of rail line transportation companies, sleeping car companies, express companies, hydro-electric energy and gross receipts of motor buses and automobiles for hire. A license tax for registering foreign securities, in lieu of an ad valorem tax, was provided by the Legislature.

The first income tax was enacted in 1933, and the passage of a third Revenue Act in 1935 centralized the authority of the State Tax Commission in the areas of assessment and collection. Numerous licenses and taxes that previously had been collected by other state offices finally were placed under the control of the State Tax Commission. Also resulting from this act was the designation of a member of the State Tax Commission as the State Land Commissioner. Appointed by the governor, the commissioner administered laws dealing with lands acquired by the state for the non-payment of taxes. Influential revenue measures were enacted into law beginning with the Special Session in 1936. The first of these was the levy of a 1½-percent gross receipts tax, which later was repealed and replaced with a 2 percent sales tax. Since the act approving the sales tax provided for the exemption of many essential commodities, it was referred to as a Luxury Tax Act.

A significant factor in the production of state revenue has been the Alabama Beverage Control Act. Although this act is not a primary tax law and is not administered by the Department of Revenue, the production of revenue from the operation of state-owned liquor stores must not be overlooked.

The, in 1939, the State Tax Commission was abolished and today’s Department of Revenue was created. Several acts resulted in a single executive officer being made ex-officio State Land Commissioner, and a legal counsel being provided to the department for assistance in tax litigation. Thus, the entire revenue department of the state was joined under the new Commissioner of Revenue.

Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center

The Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center (ACJIC) is the state agency responsible for gathering and providing critical information for law enforcement and the criminal justice community. ACJIC operates a state-of-the-art data center 24 hours a day, seven days a week providing many information systems through the state criminal justice network (CJnet) and the Internet. ACJIC is connected nationally to the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC), as well as to all 50 states via the National Law Enforcement Telecommunication System (Nlets). In addition, Alabama’s Department of Homeland Security coordinates with ACJIC to develop and advance such programs as the Law Enforcement Tactical System (LETS).

Established in 1975 by the Alabama Legislature to collect, store, retrieve, analyze, and disseminate vital information relating to certain crimes, criminals, and criminal activity, the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center (ACJIC) is the state’s criminal history repository agency. ACJIC also houses the Alabama Statistical Analysis Center (SAC), which collects Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and reports Alabama crime information statistics to the FBI.

ACJIC is responsible for gathering and providing critical information for Alabama’s law enforcement and the criminal justice community. Leading the nation in the development of ground-breaking technology, ACJIC connects local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and also provides access to law enforcement in all 50 states and internationally via Nlets, the International Justice and Public Safety Network. It operates under the guidance of the ACJIC Commission.

ACJIC Commission

In accordance with state law, the Commission, a supervisory board composed of a 13-member voting section and a seven-member advisory section, is responsible for establishing the policies and rules governing the operation of the agency, includes voting member officials representing the: Alabama Attorney General; Alabama Sheriff's Association; Alabama District Court Judges Association; Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles Chairman; Alabama Police Chiefs Association; Alabama Circuit Court Judges Association; Alabama Department of Public Safety Director; Alabama District Attorney's Association; Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs Director; Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner; Alabama Circuit Clerks Association; Alabama Department of Finance ISD Director; and the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court;. Also represented on the Commission as an advisory members are the presiding officer of the Alabama Senate; the Alabama Association of County Commission's president; the Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives; the Alabama League of Municipalities president; the director of the Alabama Administrative Office of Courts; and a citizen of the State of Alabama appointed by the Governor.

Responsibilities

ACJIC’s powers and duties are defined in Sections 41-9-590 through 41-9-649 of the Code of Alabama, 1975. These duties include:
  • Collecting, storing, retrieving, analyzing and disseminating criminal justice data on the behalf of the state of Alabama;
  • Offering assistance and instruction to criminal justice agencies in establishing an efficient system for information management;
  • Compiling and publishing annual statistics on the nature and extent of crime in Alabama to state officials and criminal justice agencies;
  • Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to assist and provide criminal justice agencies with information that will assist them in crime fighting;
  • Cooperating with other agencies of the state, the crime information agencies in other states and the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and national crime information center systems of the FBI. (Note: Prior to 1976, law enforcement agencies participated in the FBI's UCR program on a voluntary basis.);
  • Providing individuals with the mechanisms and procedures to view and challenge their criminal history records;
  • Instituting measures to ensure for the privacy and security of the ACJIC system meeting both state and national standards for the interstate sharing of this information; and
  • Employing sworn Alabama peace officers with "full and unlimited police power and jurisdiction to ensure the laws in this state pertaining to the operation and administration of the Alabama criminal justice information system, and the storage, use, and dissemination of the information processed" in its systems.

Alabama Fusion Center

Following the attacks on September 11, 2001, the need for information to prevent future terrorist activity became apparent, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was created. Within months, the Alabama Legislature unanimously voted to establish the Alabama Department of Homeland Security, which led to the creation of the Alabama Fusion Center and other state centers to “fuse” information between multiple levels of government and various agencies.

Through strategic partnerships with local, state, and federal agencies the Alabama Fusion Center (AFC) continues to provide intelligence and research support for multi-jurisdictional projects and investigations. The AFC researches tips and leads providing agents with specific information about their inquiry while serving as a central hub for research and dissemination. A true force-multiplier, the AFC is an invaluable tool for law enforcement by gathering, analyzing, and sharing mission critical information.

Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries*

The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries’ Investigations Unit investigates a broad range of rural and agricultural crimes and assists local law enforcement agencies on such cases as livestock theft, abuse and neglect; heavy equipment theft and recovery; and such agricultural crimes as those involving pesticides, feed, seeds and grains.

The current revenue system of the state of Alabama has evolved through a series of Legislative enactments dating back to the early 1900s.

When the current state Constitution was adopted in 1901, there were three primary revenue laws levying a general ad valorem property tax, a limited number of privilege licenses and a poll tax. Together with the earnings from the State Convict Department, these sources of revenue produced almost all of the entire state receipts, which in the year 1900 amounted to $2,656, 350.78. One of the earliest revenue organizations was the State Board of Assessment. Composed of the Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor and State Treasurer, the board was responsible for assessing tangible property of public utilities and public service corporations. A Legislative act of 1898-1899 provided for the Office of State Tax Commissioner, whose duties were to “aid revenue officers in the state in the collection of escaped, delinquent, back taxes and licenses, in discovering and prosecuting by civil and criminal penalties and costs all evasions or violations of the revenue laws of this state, and in the perfecting of all tax titles made under laws of this state.”

The State Tax Commissioner, who worked under the supervision of the state auditor, was authorized to appoint one county tax commissioner for each county in the state. Working in conjunction with the State Tax Commissioner was the State Tax Commission, created in 1907. The duty of the commission was to directly assess the intangible property of public utilities.

A major organizational change took place in 1915 with the dissolution of the State Board of Assessment and the creation of a State Board of Equalization. This board, which assumed the duties of the State Tax Commission, was required to assess all tangible and intangible property of public utilities and public service corporations.

The State Board of Equalization lasted until 1919, when the State Tax Commission was re-established. It was at that time that the first attempt was made to assume the task of direct tax collection. Although an income tax law was passed, the Supreme Court declared the tax unconstitutional.

Also significant in 1919 was the passage of the General Revenue Act, which authorized the State Tax Commission to issue tags to motor vehicle dealers, issue replacement tags and collect charges for those services. The Office of Tax Adjuster was created as part of this act but abolished several years later. A second Revenue Act, passed in 1923, gave the State Tax Commission the power to directly assess the shares of domestic corporations. During this year, the first of a series of taxes on gasoline was levied.

The next few years brought additional duties to the State Tax Commission with the levying and direct collection of various taxes, among them taxes on tobacco, lubricating oil, gross receipts of rail line transportation companies, sleeping car companies, express companies, hydroelectric energy, and gross receipts of motor buses and automobiles for hire. A license tax for registering foreign securities, in lieu of an ad valorem tax, was provided by the legislature. The first income tax was enacted in 1933. The passage of a third Revenue Act in 1935 centralized the authority of the State Tax Commission in the areas of assessment and collection. Numerous licenses and taxes that previously had been collected by other state offices were finally placed under the control of the State Tax Commission.

Also resulting from this act was the designation of a member of the State Tax Commission as the State Land Commissioner. Appointed by the Governor, the commissioner administered laws dealing with lands acquired by the state for the non-payment of taxes.

Influential revenue measures were enacted into law beginning with the Special Session in 1936. The first of these was the levy of a 1½-percent gross receipts tax, which later was repealed and replaced with a 2 percent sales tax. Since the act approving the sales tax provided for the exemption of many essential commodities, it was referred to as a Luxury Tax Act.

A significant factor in the production of state revenue has been the Alabama Beverage Control Act. Although this act is not a primary tax law and is not administered by the Department of Revenue, the production of revenue from the operation of state-owned liquor stores must not be overlooked. The former State Tax Commission was abolished in 1939 with the creation of the present State Department of Revenue. Several acts resulted in a single executive officer being made ex-officio State Land Commissioner and a Legal Counsel being provided the department for assistance in tax litigation. Thus, the entire revenue department of the state was joined under the new commissioner of revenue.

Alabama Public Service Commission*

The Alabama Public Service Commission was designated as such in 1915 by the Alabama Legislature. The Commission evolved from the Railroad Commission of Alabama, which was created in 1881 to regulate railroads. The Commission has always been composed of three elected members: a president and two associate commissioners.

Between 1881 and 1915, the Legislature extended the Railroad Commission’s jurisdiction to include express companies, sleeping car companies, railroad depots and terminal stations. In addition, the Commission’s jurisdiction was broadened to include the regulation of telephone and telegraph companies, transportation companies operating as common carriers over water and operators of toll bridges, toll ferries, and toll roads. The Commission was also charged with the regulation of utilities providing electricity, gas, water, and steam, companies operating streets or inter-urban railways, as well as rail and communication companies already subject to regulation by the former Railroad Commission. The newly constituted agency thus became known as the Alabama Public Service Commission. The Commission’s authority was extended to approving the sale or lease of utility property or franchises and was broadened again in 1920 when the Legislature made the Commission responsible for regulating utility rates.

As Alabama’s highway system developed in the late 1920s, the operation of trucks and buses as common carriers increased. In 1927, the Legislature placed all motor transportation companies operating as common carriers of freight and/or passengers over regular routes on Alabama highways under the Commission’s regulatory authority. The Legislature broadened the Commission’s authority over transportation companies in 1931 and 1932 by including motor carriers not operating over regular routes. Intrastate air carriers were made subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction in 1945.

Natural gas transmission and distribution systems were placed under the Commission’s jurisdiction for safety purposes in 1968. Additionally the Minimum Safety Standards outlined in the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act were adopted.

In 1971, the Commission’s authority over motor carriers was broadened yet again as transportation enforcement officers were empowered to enforce the rules and regulations of the Commission. Similarly, the Commission’s safety jurisdiction was extended to include railroad tracks and equipment in 1976 under the State Participation Program of the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970.

In 1977, the Legislature recognized the need to have an advocate charged exclusively with representing utility consumers before the Commission. The Legislature accordingly empowered the office of the Attorney General of Alabama to represent consumers and the state in proceedings before the Commission during the 1977 legislative session.

In recent years, sweeping federal and state statutory changes have significantly altered the Commission’s jurisdiction and authority over transportation and telecommunications utilities. Title IV in the Federal Aviation Administration Act of 1994 provides for federal preemption of the states in matters of motor carrier pricing, routes, and services for all but household goods carriers. As a result, Commission certification and tariff approval is no longer required for those motor carriers whose state Commissions are federally preempted from regulating beyond minimal initial requirements. The Commission continues to regulate carriers of passengers and household goods, ensures all motor carriers maintain appropriate cargo and liability insurance, and ensures that all regulated carriers comply with applicable safety standards.

With the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Congress opened up the local exchange telephone markets to competition. Large incumbent local exchange companies (ILECs) such as BellSouth and CenturyTel, who previously operated as the only local carrier within their Commission certified service areas, must now make their services available for resale and lease components of their embedded network to new entrants. New entrants into the local telephone market may also petition the Commission to open independent telephone company local service areas to competition. The introduction of local competition forced the Commission to set utility prices for retail telecommunication services using market based rather than cost based methodology. In 2005, the Alabama Legislature passed the Communications Reform Act. That Act, citing the competition that exists in the local telephone market, eliminated much of the Commission’s authority over retail telecommunication services. Additionally, Commission jurisdiction was eliminated for all broadband services used for Internet delivery. The Commission did, however, retain full jurisdiction over wholesale telecommunications services, most consumer telecommunications complaints and matters concerning Universal Service.


*It is important to note only the Investigations Unit was affected by the consolidation of state law enforcement and is now part of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA).