The Houston-Henry County Pre-trial Diversion Bill has raked in tens of thousands of dollars over the past year and half. And much of that money goes to local law enforcement agencies.
Under this bill, those who commit certain crimes can opt to pay a fee instead of going through the system.
You either do the time, or pay the fine and District Attorney Doug Valeska has used fees from pre-trial diversion to fund court offices and local law enforcement.
Valeska says, “We’ve given more than $30,000 to the Henry County Sheriff's Office, so they can have an investigator. We’ve bought equipment, sent officers to training, provided court house security, bought laptops, provided shelving for the circuit clerk, and paid for telephones.”
But, things could change under the DA's amendments to the bill. If it passes, every time a pre-trial diversion fee is ordered, up to $50 will go to Houston and Henry County Commissions, up to one hundred dollars to the circuit clerk, up to one hundred dollars to law enforcement, and up to fifty dollars to each of four local agencies, like the House of Ruth, or the Wiregrass Angel House which helps families deal with losing a loved one to violence.
The Dothan Police Department has sent officers for training, and bought new equipment because of the bill, but they feel there's even more to offer.
Up to this point, the DA has used his own discretion when distributing the funds from the pre-trial diversion bill.
If it passes, this amendment would hopefully bring more money to these agencies, and it would require no increase in taxes or court fees.