Adair updates Chamber on DA's office
by RACHEL DAVIS
Jun 13, 2012 | 1145 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SUMITON — District Attorney Bill Adair spoke to the East Walker Chamber of Commerce Tuesday at their meeting at Lee’s Restaurant.

Adair updated the chamber on the current state of the District Attorney’s Office and some of the current projects.

According to Adair, when he took office in January 2011, there were 23 pending homicide cases, 77 child sex abuse cases and more than 3,000 drug cases awaiting trial.

The child sex abuse cases were delayed by Walker County’s lack of a child advocacy center, meaning Walker County victims had to wait for an opening at the center in Birmingham.

“Those 77 children had to wait in line in Birmingham,” Adair said.

Adair has hired an assistant DA who is focused on the child sex abuse cases and is spearheading the efforts to establish an advocacy center in the county.

Settling those backlogged cases and creating an advocacy center were among Adair’s top goals when he took office, along with creating and maintaining an open-door policy with business owners and the community.

“I’ve made a big push for business people and individuals to feel welcome to come into my office,” Adair said.

One of Adair’s chief worries with his department is funding. Since the district attorney’s office is not a part of the court system, it is funded from other sources. Those three sources are the state’s general fund, the Walker County Commission and the money the office raises for itself, through its bad check, special services and child support unit.

According to Adair, in the last three years, funding to the state’s district attorney’s from the general fund has been cut about 53 percent.

“One of the really frustrating parts of the office has been the drastic cuts in funding,” Adair said.

He also said that the Walker County Commission has stepped in to help his department cover some of the shortfalls.

“They have done very well by the DA’s office,” Adair said. “They’ve kept my doors open in a lot of ways. If they hadn’t stepped up to the plate, we would be in bad shape.”

Adair dispersed packets of information to the business owners regarding his bad check collection unit. He also gave instructions on the safest way to take a check and what to do if business owners receive a bad check.

Much of the DA’s funding comes from fees collected from those writing the bad checks or avoiding child support, as well as those who are delinquent on criminal restitution payments.

The child support portion of the office currently has 2,400 active cases, collects about $300,000 a month in support for custodial parents and collected $2.8 million for those guardians last year.

Adair also discussed both east Walker police departments, praising Sumiton Police Chief T. J. Burnett’s handling of cases and his department and commending Dora Police Chief John Duchock on the positive changes he’s made inside his department.