Unknowns remain around police jurisdictions

Published 8:30 am Saturday, September 23, 2023

The cities of Lanett and LaFayette, and Chambers County, continue to plan around how police jurisdictions will be handled in the future.

Lanett and LaFayette missed a March 1 deadline for Act 2021-297, to disclose the revenue collected through police jurisdictions, which meant they could no longer collect that revenue.

For months, the question has been about what happens next.

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Lanett answered part of that question Monday, as it voted to pull back its police jurisdiction to its city limits Monday and will need to alert the county to the change within 30 days. As of Jan. 1, the city will no longer be responsible for serving the area and the county will take over.

County Attorney Skip McCoy said the county will collect the 2.5% tax that the city is no longer collecting in January if the municipalities pass the ordinance.

“From now until January 2024, the city will still be responsible for servicing the police jurisdiction,” McCoy said.

According to City Clerk Louis Davidson, no decision has been made yet for LaFayette. The city has until Oct. 1 to pass an ordinance seeking to pull back its police jurisdiction to its city limits.

McCoy said the Chambers County Commission expects to have to add deputies and patrol cars to cover the new territory. He said they have accounted for the possibility of the added expenses in their budget.

“The county commission is mindful of that, and during their budgeting process, they have taken into consideration that factor of not knowing how the cities might respond but trying to prepare themselves in the event that the cities did pull back their police jurisdiction,” McCoy said.

According to McCoy, the county commissioners would work to furnish the sheriff’s office with the resources needed to service the new territory.

McCoy said that though the situation was “thrust on Chambers County,” the commission will abide by the legislation.

“The county has a very good working relationship with the city of Lanett and the city of LaFayette and the city of Valley,” McCoy said. “And the county commission by no means coveted or solicited the situation that we’re now left with, but we’ll continue to work with the municipalities as we always have.”