CORBIN, Ky. - An agreement among local police agencies in southeastern Kentucky would allow more authority across jurisdictional lines.
Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell told WKYT-TV in Lexington the textbook reason for the interlocal agency agreement is the city of Corbin. It lies in both Whitley and Knox counties and part of the suburbs extend into Laurel County.
"Anywhere near the border of Laurel County there is some crime that's committed there that's committed just across the street, that's just outside of your jurisdiction," said Lt. Rodney Van Zant from the Laurel County Sheriff's Office.
He said many officers will call local police, a deputy or even a state trooper to make the arrest since they are not allowed to.
Rockcastle, Laurel, Knox, Whitley, and Clay counties along with Barbourville, London and Williamsburg are working on the agreement. The judge-executives in the counties have agreed to it as have the city councils.
All it needs now is approval from the Kentucky Attorney General's Office.
Under current state law, officers can investigate beyond jurisdictional lines, but they aren't given the power to make an arrest. Van Zant says that can be problematic in southeastern Kentucky.
"In this area of Kentucky, agencies are small and limited on man power," he said.
The agreement doesn't mean agencies will patrol beyond their current boundaries, but they it will give them more flexibility in crossing borders when needed.
"Before, we would have to round up or request that a trooper go with us or get a hold of the local sheriff's department; now we will have authority," Harrell said.
"It really makes good sense," said Van Zant, who noted that it will allow a faster response from different agencies if an emergency strikes because agencies won't have to go through state police to cross jurisdictional borders.
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