Lauderdale Co. Sheriff wants more for deputy uniforms; Commission chair not on board

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – In an effort to bring professionalism to the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department, the new sheriff wants to update several key components.

Four decades ago, Sheriff Rick Singleton started his law enforcement career with the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department.

There’s one thing that has remained the same since he first put on his service belt: The amount of money deputies get to purchase uniforms.

“We want a professional department, and part of being professional is looking the part. You can’t do that when you get a $75 check in three or four months after you come to work to pay for your uniforms,” Singleton explained.

Lauderdale County is one of only three in the state in which a uniform allowance must be increased through an act in the Legislature.  In an attempt to raise the allowance, Singleton drafted a bill giving control of the amount back to the County Commission.

Singleton said the bill in Montgomery has stalled because Commission Chairman Dewey Mitchell will not sign off on it until an amount is attached.  The four voting commissioners have shown support of the bill and would like for it to pass.

“Change is hard sometimes.  Some people like to have a firm number in black and white, so this is it. I’m for that number too,” said Singleton. “I’m just for the County Commission setting it instead of the Legislature.”

According to Singleton, if the legislation doesn’t pass, the Commission will have to consider buying the uniforms for deputies.  He said it would ultimately cost the county even more money in the long run.

Sheriff Singleton is asking the commission to pay for the uniforms of new hire deputies at a cost of more than $800.

The commission would then give each deputy $400 per year for their uniform allowance.

No word if the bill will proceed for a vote or stall out during this legislative session.

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