By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, April 14, Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale (R) addressed the Greater Birmingham Young Republicans (GBYRs).
Sheriff Hale told the GBYRs “I appreciate the influence you give the county. This group carries a lot of weight it really does.”
Hale said, “I never looked at the Churches or Republican Clubs as to the place to raise money. My dad worked at CIPCO and my mother worked at Continental Gin so I have always had to raise money to run for office. At first it was tough but over time I became more comfortable with it. It takes money to buy radio time. You have got to have money to buy TV time. People judge us as politicians by the campaigns we run. We can put together some cheap looking stuff with a lot of heart in our garage, but the voters likely won’t respond well if our campaign is seen as shoddy.”
Hale said that, “the public does not want a namby-pamby campaign. When attacked, you have got to fire back; but they won’t respond well if it goes on and on and is nothing but negative. You have to present a positive vision of what you are going to do.”
Hale said that, “one of the earlier Sheriffs raised the cost of a pistol license from $7.50 to $20. That is really not a lot of money. I believe in sampling. A sample of a few give you the mindset of many. I was a deputy then and 93 out of a 100 complaints were about the pistol license fee. I remembered that. “You have got to stand for something and I promised to lower the pistol license fee and lobbied hard for the Pistol License Reduction act. The bill lowered the license to just $7.50. I only get 50 cents from the pistol permits. $4.50 goes to the retirement fund and I don’t know what the legislature does with their $2.50.”
Sheriff Hale said, “You either stand for something or you don’t. Who you are should not change from 1998 to 2016. I am for the Second Amendment. I believe in a little infringement in that I support a background check; but I support SB14. 64 out of 67 sheriffs don’t support that. A bunch of sheriffs say they support the Second Amendment but they don’t.”
Hale said, “I am thinking about that young nurse when she is driving through a rough part of town and gets stopped at a rail crossing she should be able to defend herself if something happens. A citizen should be as protected in his car as his house.”
Hale said, “I don’t believe that sheriffs should profiteer off of your second amendment rights.” In Baldwin County the concealed carry fee is $45. In a lot of them it is $20. Everybody in the state should be able to come to Jefferson County and buy their pistol permit from us for $7.50. Jabo Waggoneer has sponsored that bill.
Hale said that, “what the State is saying about not being able to make cuts, is bull. My office took a $22 million pay cut in one year. I did it. I closed a jail. I put 1640 inmates in a jail designed for 1000. The State would feel better about themselves if they tightened their belts.”
Hale said, “I believe it is proper to buy a license to carry concealed, but Sheriffs should not be profiteering with your Second Amendment rights.”
Hale said that Jefferson County has a great guy in Brandon Falls as District attorney
Hale said, “I believe in Facebook like I believe in signs in the yard. A sign in someone’s yard means something. Signs up and down the roadway don’t.”
Sheriff Hale said, “I have worked with bad commissions, by that I mean people have gone to jail. They were hard to deal with. Commissioner Jimmy Stevens is great. Tony Petelos is a class act.”
Hales said, “The Ferguson Missouri deal has been horrible. People had questions and the police chief in Ferguson put up barriers to keep people out. Talk to folks. I would have had to find a bigger room to let them all in. The 1963 Church bombing in Birmingham led people here to start talking. The Churches talk with the business community and with county officials. You have to be able to communicate.
Hale said that he uses PSAs. I told a story about who we are and what we do.”
Hale said that Jefferson County is almost exactly 50:50 Republicans and Democrats. To get elected here you can’t just campaign in Republican circles you have to reach out to get Democrats as well. I win because one the deputies do a great job, two people trust their sheriff, and three we told a story.
Sheriff Hale said, “We are the 34th largest sheriff’s office in the country. Most sheriff’s offices in the state and the country are smaller than my Bessemer office.” We need leadership from your sheriff. Jefferson County has 38 cities and town 28 with police departments. This was due to White flight in the 70s. This community is badly fractured and that is not changing. We have 38 mayors who love being mayor. We have 38 city councils that love being on the city council. We probably have 38 city attorneys that love being city attorneys.
Hale said that beginning in October the sheriff’s office and most of the 28 police departments are going to be able to share data about all the reported crime in the last 48 hours so all department will be able to adjust their beat to what is happening. The Sheriff’s department is bearing all the cost and all the major players are participating. It will change the very face of how we protect the citizens of the county.
GBYR Chairman Justin Barkley said that the group is still taking donations in memory of club member Dean Taylor who died unexpectedly recently. The family is asking for donations be made to Miracle Park in Gardendale. Dean Taylor (R) was President of the Jefferson County School Board.