Alabama law, enforcement, Commissioner of DCNR

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Posted by Kerry Grissett on June 28, 2003 at 22:46:27:

In Reply to: Re: Troy Jens posted by Joe J. on June 28, 2003 at 22:31:54:

Troy is a class act and one of the few professional fishermen in this area willing to put his true opinion out there knowing that he will make some idiots mad.

Just after I posted that message I went looking for who to contact higher up about this problem with law enforcement in Alabama.

If you or anyone else is concerned about this problem, you might send your comments to the Alabama Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley at:

Here is what I sent:

***Start quoted email***

Commissioner Lawley,

I am writing you to point out what I think is a huge problem with the
enforcement of our game and fish laws, or rather the lack of

I am already aware that we have a severe lack of officers or "game
wardens" in the field and that is a shame and I am sure is a funding
problem. However, the recent incident involving Aaron Martens and the
FLW tournament on Wheeler lake and a ticket or citation given to Martens
by Officer Chris Champion has brought to light a real problem with the
actual enforcement of the code of Alabama. Specifically:

Section 9-11-85

Game fish to be transported openly; confiscation, etc., of game fish
taken or transported illegally.

All game fish taken in this state must at all times be carried or
transported openly, and failure to do
so shall constitute a
misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $10.00 nor more than
$25.00. All game fish
carried or transported in an illegal
manner or taken or killed illegally shall be confiscated and disposed of
under regulations promulgated
by the Commissioner of
Conservation and Natural Resources.

(Acts 1935, No. 383, p. 813, 24; Code 1940, T. 8, §64.)

Since Officer Champion did not, as the above law prescribes, confiscate
the fish illegally caught by Martens, a dangerous precedent is being
set. Apparently, it is common for game and fish officers to not only
allow poachers (anyone taking game or fish outside of the laws of
Alabama) to keep their catch, but it also is routine for them to allow
these same poachers to stay on the water and continue to take fish
illegally. At least in my mind, if they were cited for not having a
valid license in their possession, then they still do not have a valid
license after the citation is given and should be forced to leave the
water until they obtain one or can show proof that they have one.

I hope you can see the problem here. If not, then I have no hope left
for the fish and game of Alabama when it comes to poaching.

Although the resulting win of the FLW tournament by Martens by itself is
not a major concern of my own, the fact that Champion did not enforce
the law above properly allowed a poacher in Alabama to obtain a $200,000
purse from the FLW tournament while poaching in Alabama. What does that
tell everyone about the state of law enforcement in Alabama? I hope
you can see my point.

Thank you for your time and attention and I hope you will take this
problem seriously and take the necessary steps to make sure it never
happens again!


Kerry Grissett

North Alabama Fishing Forum

***end quote***

I don't know if this will do any good and I don't really know if Lawley is the right person to talk to, but it is a start. Actually, I have been through similar things like this with the state and local governments and there is very little chance that it will accomplish anything, but you have to do what you have to do. (smile)

Good luck and good fishin' (while it is still here)


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