Sunday, February 10, 2013

The "No-NCIC" Caper

It was a windy summer night in 2011. Lauderdale County dispatch notified a deputy patrolling the eastern part of the county that there was a possible home burglary in progress. Arriving on the scene of the possible crime, the deputy spots a truck driving away. He stops the vehicle, requests the driver's license, and steps back to his squad car.

Calling the number in, the deputy is informed NCIC is down; he can acquire no information on his suspect. Stepping back to the truck, the deputy sees the driver make a motion as if to pull a gun from his jacket...

How does the story end? We'll let our readers pick the ending they want on this one. The story is true except for the last sentence. Yes, Lauderdale County deputies worked for almost three days in 2011 without access to the National Crime Information Center. With NCIC, you have to pay to play, and Lauderdale County was two months behind on its payments.

Was there a budget shortfall? No. Was there any questionable bookkeeping? No. There was only mismanagement--malfeasance if you will. Now the Alabama Ethics Commission has finally looked into some of the problems at the Lauderdale Sheriff's office. We understand not every complaint was addressed at the February 6th meeting--some were carried over to the April 3rd agenda.

We're pretty sure as hot as it's been in Ronnie Willis' seat recently, he's been keeping the A/C going no matter the temp outside.


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