Alabama Supreme Court Ruling Seeks to Protect the Public from Meth Labs

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A recent ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court seeks to protect the public from methamphetamine labs.

It deals with a case out of Montgomery, in which police entered an apartment without a warrant after smelling meth.

Local police say the ruling is a step in the right direction.

Attorney General Luther Strange says it's the first time the state's highest court has addressed the immediate threat of meth labs and the need for officers to react quickly to contain them.

"Meth labs in the south in general are not a hidden issue. They're quite huge because they're so easy to have. You can have a meth lab in a car in your every day coolers you take to the beach," Dothan Police Sergeant Maurice Eggleston said.

When some of the things used to make meth, like Sudafed, battery acid and other household cleaners are combined, it can create a deadly combination and result in an explosion.

"It's a huge threat, the danger is not seen. Anyone can be home eating their evening dinner, then next thing they know they can be a part of an explosion because their next door neighbor had a meth lab." Eggleston said.

Sergeant Eggleston says the Alabama Supreme Court's ruling is beneficial for everyone involved.

"The courts recognizing this, helps out everyone not just law enforcement but those people that have no idea what's going on next door to them," Eggleston said.

Eggleston says the ruling makes it easier for officers to do their jobs efficiently.

"If we do have an idea, we're not hindered by the fact of saying to ourselves – Well we have to go and get a judge to sign a warrant for us, to be able to get inside that place and confirm what we know for a fact from our training is an active meth lab. So with this ruling, it does help us make that decision quicker," Eggleston said.

Depending on the time of day, if a judge isn't working it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to get a warrant signed.

That time could be the difference between life and death.

In 2013 Alabama had the 14th highest rate of meth incidents in the country with 130.