A concerned citizen from White oak Shores addressed the Barbour County Commission on Tuesday, June 11, about the overwhelming amount of thefts that are occurring in the area.
“I am representing 427 tax paying folks that live in White Oak Shores,” Don Mainor said. “We have some issues with the Sheriff’s Department that we have not had before.
“I want to start out saying this is not a bash on the sheriff’s department. We have had a string of thefts where golf carts, four-wheelers and things like that are stolen. We thank God for Detective Tracy Reese from the sheriff’s office because he has been working hard to solve these and recovered 90 percent of them. Detective Reese has just been excellent. The chief deputy has been great, too.
“Before these started, we had a deputy, Doug Myers, down there that would take 30 minutes at the end of his shift and just drive the roads, Doug would do this on his own time. When he was doing this, we didn’t have half the problems that we have now. Now, he says he’s been told to not do that anymore, and we just want to see what it will take to correct that and get him back to riding around the area. If White Oak Shores needs to chip in for gas we will, Doug is chipping in his time; his presence there just makes things so much better.
“One of the other things is, we have events at which we hire deputies from the sheriff’s department, and we were told that we could not pick the deputies that we would like to hire. I don’t understand the reason behind this, though I imagine there is a good one, but what we would like to have when we hire a deputy, which we will do on July 4, is one that is familiar with our roads.”
Mainor told commissioners of an off duty Henry County officer that found a bag of methamphetamines on one of the bath houses in White Oak Shores and when they called to report it they were basically told to flush it down the toilet because the sheriff’s department did not have any way of testing the drugs. Mainor also reported a problem with trespassers in the area. He said that Detective Reese told them how to handle the trespassing issue but that having the patrol car riding the area had previously helped with all the issues they are having at the present.
Barbour County Sheriff Tyrone Smith responded to Mainor’s complaints, saying that he would talk to Deputy Myers about patrolling and that there is a good reason the community could not request which officer they would like to hire to work events.
“I want to be fair with all deputies and that goes for any off duty employees,” Smith said. “We are going to make sure it is spread around through all the deputies. There has been too much of that kind of stuff going on the last 12 years; it’s not going on anymore. All of them are going to be treated equally and fairly. Each one of those deputies are constituted by Alabama state law, they are all law enforcement officers and have the same abilities. I understand you all may like one more than another and that’s fine, that’s your right to do so, but to say we are going to pick and choose who works at a particular event, I am not going to allow that. It’s going to be fair to any deputy that is off.”
Next, Smith addressed the issue of the drug test kits.
“We have some, they are old and they are expired,” Smith said. “If you were to make a criminal case with that and the defense attorney found out that the kit that you used to test it with was inadequate…your case is done. We will look into getting some new ones. I understand that meth is a huge problem in Barbour County and we are looking into that along with a thousand other things. We are working on that though.
“That particular day that the meth was found, I will be the first person to say that it was not handled correctly. I have spoken to the deputies involved and if that situation arises again in your neighborhood or anyone else’s neighborhood, it will be handled differently. It’s just a situation, that unfortunately, wasn’t handled the way you would have liked it to be handled and certainly not handled the way I would have like it to have been handled, but on a brighter note, it is an opportunity to learn. They learned from it, and that is important to me, that they did learn from that incident.”