Hence, anytime a person is assigned a task but not given the resources to carry it out, one is reminded of what Pharaoh did.
It’s possible this will be the result if the Integrated State Law Enforcement Task Force — which Gov. Robert Bentley created last week — carries out the recommendations from a three-month government-streamlining study directed by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh.
What Marsh’s group proposes is the creation of a Public Safety Agency, headed by a secretary of public safety, that would combine law enforcement into four departments: forensic sciences, investigations, public safety and public-safety training.
This page is all for wise management of government. There are 22 agencies in the state that have law enforcement functions. Surely there are ways to combine forces and functions so the public is better-served. What we have heard from the Marsh report is promising.
Naturally, both the governor and Marsh, R-Anniston, are touting how much money this streamlining will save over the coming years; the governor links it directly to an effort to cut law enforcement spending by 10 percent. This emphasis on having to spend less on law enforcement brings back images of the Hebrew people toiling on the banks on the Nile.
We would feel better about this effort if the governor and Marsh had promised that the money saved in the push for efficiency would be given to the more efficiently organized agencies so they might be better equipped to provide the services Alabamians need.
Budget cuts have already hampered law enforcement on almost every level — from the number of state troopers on the road to the time it takes for the State Department of Forensic Science to process evidence.
Let’s hope the task force can produce a bill the governor can introduce at the next legislative session. If the state Legislature in turn passes the bill, the departments being created would be more tightly organized. There would be less duplication and the departments would need fewer people.
But if law enforcement loses the money that is saved, then the new Public Safety Agency that Marsh is proposing could be even more poorly financed than law enforcement is today.
And, yet, the problems law enforcement faces will be as great as they ever were: fewer people, less money, same job — bricks without straw.
Look on the bright side: This might help reduce the state’s prison population because an undermanned, underfinanced law enforcement system won’t catch as many bad guys is it might otherwise.
Wait. That isn’t a bright side.