Unchecked Power

The Extraordinary Power of Alabama Sheriffs

Alabama sheriffs operate with little oversight, and there are vast county-by-county disparities in how they execute their duties and enforce the law.

An Inmate Needed Emergency Medical Help. The Jail’s Response: See if She Has Insurance.

Audio obtained by AL.com and ProPublica shows the jail administrator wanted to see if they would be responsible for an inmate’s medical bills before sending her to the hospital. She died a day later.

These Sheriffs Release Sick Inmates to Avoid Paying Their Hospital Bills

Inmates suffering heart attacks, on the verge of diabetic comas and brutalized in jail beatings have been released so sheriffs wouldn’t have to pay for their medical care. Some were rearrested once they had recovered.

The Sheriff Lost Reelection. Then the Spending Spree Began.

Sheriff Blake Turman says that after he beat then-Sheriff Dennis Meeks at the polls, he found that thousands of dollars worth of military equipment was missing and public funds were wasted. Meeks’ response: “He’s full of shit.”

Wasted Funds, Destroyed Property: How Sheriffs Undermined Their Successors After Losing Reelection

Alabama sheriffs who lost reelection in 2018 personally pocketed funds and deleted public records, an investigation by AL.com and ProPublica found. Holes were drilled through government-issued smartphones and leftover rice was poured down the drain, among other things. It’s a longstanding tradition that sheriffs aren’t typically held accountable for.

How Nine Sheriffs Who Lost Reelection Made Life Harder for Their Successors

Of 10 sheriffs who lost their reelection campaigns last year in Alabama, nine face accusations of impeding their successors. Here’s a rundown of those accusations and how (or if) they responded to them.

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