Bentley places law enforcement secretary on medical leave, Severe Weather Awareness week

Feb 17, 2016

Gov. Robert Bentley is placing the head of Alabama's state law enforcement agency on medical leave.

Bentley announced the decision today about Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Spencer Collier. The medical leave will last for as long as three months, allowing Collier time to recover from what the governor's office describes as an upcoming back surgery.

Bentley is appointing Stan Stabler as acting director during Collier's absence. Stabler is currently the chief of the dignitary protection unit at ALEA.

Collier is a former state trooper, and the governor tapped him as the first secretary of the combined Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. Collier also served previously as Bentley's director of homeland security.

Governor Bentley has declared this week to be Severe Weather Awareness week in the state of Alabama. The National Weather Service is encouraging Alabamians to learn and or review the proper safety precautions in case of severe weather.

Cody Lindsey is a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. He says there is significant difference between a weather watch and a weather warning.

“All a watch is it’s an advance notice that severe weather is possible doesn’t mean severe weather is necessarily occurring a warning means severe weather is imminent or occurring and if you see a warning is in effect that’s when you need to take your action plan into place.”

Information regarding tips and storm spotting can be found on the Alabama National Weather Service social media and web sites.

A train of public officials and industry officials will ride the rails along Alabama’s Gulf Coast this week. The trip is meant to inspect the current railroad infrastructure of the corridor between New Orleans and Jacksonville.

Jerry Gehman* is the Surface Transportation Advisor to the Mayor’s Staff for the city of Atmore. He says the return of passenger rail could be part of a larger tourist infrastructure on the Gulf Coast.

“With the return of the Carnival cruise line to Mobile, they take the train to Mobile to get on their cruise ship, they come back from their cruise, get on the train and come to Atmore and go to the Wind Creek Casino and spend a couple of days here. And then hop back on the train and go home. We’re looking at those as very viable economic opportunities.”

The inspection train will drop off its passengers in Atmore, where they will spend the night. Service was suspended when Hurricane Katrina destroyed large portions of the rails in the area.