Departmental Disagreements May Potentially Threaten Construction of New E-911 Center

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Sheriff Hughes’ recent move to withdrawal his support of plans to build a new integrated communication center is turning into a war of words with Dothan Police Chief John Powell. On the one hand you have Sheriff Hughes who says the Dothan Police Department has not been helpful to his department in the past several months; on the other hand is Chief Powell says that is far from the truth.

Sheriff Hughes says Chief John Powell is unwilling to assist the Sheriff's office because of his territorial attitude when dealing with service calls.

"We requested a canine unit at Cottonwood High School one afternoon for a drug search. After the canine was sent, Chief Powell made comments to his staff at a meeting that he was not going to send any canines to any municipalities in the county, unless the chief of police requested a dog," said Hughes.

This allegation of a cross jurisdictional feud between both department's is something Chief Powell says is absurd.

"Surrounding agencies can attest to the fact that when they ask for assistance we try to render as much assistance as we can," said Powell.

The argument goes on as Sheriff Hughes says there are other instances of no cooperation. Mark Culver, the Chairman of the Houston County Commission, says he will continue to support plans for a new communication center.

Mark Culver: "It's just unfortunate that personal differences between two individuals have gotten in the middle of what we think is good public policy," said Culver.

Policy which could result in the construction of a brand new communication center which will cost the taxpayers of Houston County much less, and eventually make law enforcement service calls speedier and more efficient.

Some are now wondering what effect this rocky working relationship between the sheriff and the police chief will have on the current E-911 plans. But that will ultimately be left up to the e-911 board.

In the meantime, E-911 board members will continue to survey possible sights for a new communication center.

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