By Cullen Browder
Raleigh, N.C. — Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has joined the chorus of concern about a provision in the North Carolina Senate’s budget proposal that would limit the arrest ability of Alcohol Law Enforcement agents and officers for local Alcoholic Beverage Control boards.
ALE agents and ABC officers focus on alcohol-related crimes, but they often get involved in drug cases, investigation of illegal video poker and impaired driving arrests.
The provision, on page 239 of the Senate budget, says they can only work cases related to alcohol or lottery crimes or when other law enforcement agencies ask for assistance.
“Those powers seem to be significantly restricted and, again, from MADD’s perspective, that would concern us,” said Irene Dwinnell, leader of the statewide chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. “We do support law enforcement, and we need law enforcement to have their powers to help us take drunk drivers off our roads.”
Sen. Shirley Randleman, R-Wilkes, the author of the provision, declined to comment Thursday, other than to say she hadn’t heard any complaints from the ALE or ABC.
Earlier this week, she issued a statement that said, “The intent is not to limit their authority to enforce the law, it is to clarify their scope of jurisdiction.