State helicopter used to retrieve Alabama Governor’s wallet

(WKRG Photo)

FORT MORGAN, Ala. (WKRG) – Current ALEA Secretary Stan Stabler confirms that a flight was made to deliver Governor Bentley’s wallet to Fort Morgan, but said it falls under The Code of Alabama Section 36-33-2.

He said a flight was also not specifically requested by the governor as a method of transportation for the wallet. Stabler said the decision was approved through the chain of command by Former Secretary Spencer Collier, while sources originally said it was facilitated without approval.

“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.  “During December 2014, I received notification from Governor Bentley that he traveled to his home in Fort Morgan and inadvertently left his wallet in Tuscaloosa.  As customary with a request made by a protectee, 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.  I want to be clear, 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.”

Spencer Collier disputed Stabler’s claims and said that Governor Bentley gave Stabler (Protective Services Chief) the authority to use the aircraft on behalf of the governor without going up the chain of command. In a statement sent to News 5, he said:

“During my tenure as Secretary of ALEA, I was notified on multiple occasions that Governor Bentley hurriedly left his residence in Tuscaloosa without security. On one occasion, Governor Bentley’s whereabouts were unknown for several hours. On another occasion, Protective Services Chief Stan Stabler contacted me and stated that “We have lost the Governor”. Later I was informed that Troopers or Special Agents with the Protective Services Unit located the Governor and escorted him to his private beach house on Ft. Morgan Road.

I was never informed about the wallet and did not approve the use of ALEA Aviation to retrieve it. The Chief of Protective Services was given the authority by Governor Bentley to utilize aviation on behalf of the Governor without going up the chain of command to me and the Chief did so routinely.

These type incidents and similar conduct by the Governor made the job of the hardworking men and women of ALEA Protective Services very difficult and often put them in awkward positions.”

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