The Houston County Sheriffs Office, Alabama Sheriff's Association, Houston County Commission and the Association of County Commissions are all collectively pushing for a bill that would protect correctional officers from litigation.
It all stems from the 2008 death of an inmate who was killed in a wreck while being transferred for a court appearance. He died after the Houston County Sheriff's Office van he was riding in was struck by a truck near Montgomery.
Under previous Alabama case laws, the correctional officer who was driving the van would have been protected from litigation but the inmate's family sued. The Alabama Supreme Court overruled the previous laws and ruled in favor of the inmate's family. The family and county later reached a monetary settlement.
That's why the groups are asking lawmakers to protect officers from such litigation. "The jailers around the state are obviously there 24 hours a day protecting us carrying out very important duty. To subject them to personal liability is absolutely unreasonable," Executive Director of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama Sonny Brasfield said.
"As long as they are not doing anything stupid, as long as they are not doing anything that's violating any ones civil rights, then we want to make sure they enjoy the same protections as the Sheriff himself in whatever county it is," Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes said.
As it stands now, only a county's Sheriff and deputies are protected from such litigation.
The legislative session starts March 1st.