Former deputy facing felony charge
By Michael Wetzel
For the Enquirer
A former deputy with the Morgan County and Lawrence County sheriffs’ offices was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with using his government position for personal gain, according to authorities.
The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office said David O’Neal Allen, 34, of Trinity, was arrested and jailed at 11:33 a.m.
He was released on a $5,000 bond at 12:22 p.m., according to jail records.
Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson said he could not release any details of the accusations against Allen, but that Allen is facing a felony charge.
Allen resigned from his job as a deputy with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office about four hours before his arrest Tuesday, according to Lawrence County Deputy Chief Brian Covington. Covington said Allen was with the Sheriff’s Office about four years as a patrol deputy and corrections officer.
Morgan County sheriff’s spokesman Mike Swafford said the charges stem from 2018, when Allen worked under then-Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin.
“Discrepancies were discovered in early 2019 after Sheriff Ron Puckett took office with the information being submitted to the Ethics Commission at that time,” Swafford said.
Swafford declined to provide details on the evidence underlying the charge.
Anderson said Allen’s status as a former deputy will not affect his prosecution.
“It’s unfortunate and not something I enjoyed doing,” he said of Allen’s arrest. “But the law is the law, and no one is above it. Regardless, we will afford Officer Allen every right to which he is entitled under the law just like we would anyone else charged with a crime.”
In November 2021, Allen, who was then a sergeant with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, was charged with driving under the influence and speeding when he was off duty. Decatur police pulled Allen over driving along U.S. 31 near Mill Road in the Flint community about 2:30 a.m., police reports said.
Covington said Allen was placed on administrative leave during that investigation.
“He was taken off the road and transferred to work as a jailer for a short time,” Covington said. “The DUI charge was dropped, and he was returned to patrol.”
Allen was arrested Tuesday on a charge of violating an Alabama law that reads, “No public official or public employee shall use or cause to be used his or her official position or office to obtain personal gain for himself or herself, or family member of the public employee or family member of the public official, or any business with which the person is associated unless the use and gain are otherwise specifically authorized by law.
“Personal gain is achieved when the public official, public employee, or a family member thereof receives, obtains, exerts control over or otherwise converts to personal use the object constituting such personal gain.”