Multiple state media outlets, including WHNT News 19’s news partner AL.com, have reported that one occasion, Governor Bentley used a state helicopter to retrieve a wallet he left in Tuscaloosa.
We tried to ask the governor about the reports while he was in Huntsville today, but he left the event at the VBC without taking questions from the media.
On Wednesday evening, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency released a statement on the helicopter issue.
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.”
So far, Governor Bentley hasn’t responded to the helicopter reports. But, AL.com’s Kyle Whitmire reported Bentley left his wallet in Tuscaloosa after an argument with former Alabama First Lady Dianne Bentley.