TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
Cooperation — that’s the name of the game now after an interlocal law enforcement agreement went into effect Monday.
According to Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird, the agencies involved include Williamsburg Police, Corbin Police, London Police, and the sheriff’s departments of Clay, Knox, Laurel, Rockcastle and Whitley counties.
Bird explained the agreement allows law enforcement from these areas assist other agencies during times of crisis, such as when the tornadoes went through Laurel County last year.
It also eliminates county and city border issues when investigating crime.
“For example, the rate of thefts that cross county lines is increasing,” Bird said. “This agreement gives all agencies signed on with the agreement to follow up on thefts or to investigate other crimes that cross county lines.”
However, this does not mean current law enforcement borders have been eliminated, according to Bird.
“By no means are we going to be patrolling other jurisdictions,” Bird said. “Before any (members of the WPD) cross into another jurisdiction, they first have to have my approval — that’s the way it was set up.”
He said having this agreement in place saves time during fast-developing investigations. “This is an excellent tool for law enforcement that serves many purposes,” Bird said.
He explained that officers and other law enforcement often have to go to other counties for various transports or other business. “If they witness a crime or see something going on while they do that, officers can act on it,” Bird said.
This type of agreement is not the state’s first, according to Bird.
“There are a couple more in the state,” he said. “We went to a north Kentucky police department and met with them.”
Bird said they learned how that type of agreement works in other areas. But this issue has been on the table since last year’s destructive tornadoes. “We had meetings on this last year after the Laurel County tornadoes,” Bird said.
Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell said this agreement was “endorsed and signed off on” by the state’s attorney general.
“This agreement grants (law enforcement) arrest powers in these other counties,” Harrell said. “And we grant those agencies the same authorization in Whitley County.”
Harrell agrees with Bird about the effectiveness of this agreement.
“This serves the public a whole lot better,” Harrell said. “I’m excited about the improved efficiency of the department.”