The four-hour training course will inform officials of their duties in accordance with the immigration law, Alabama HB-56.
“This is necessary to ensure there is no confusion in the application of the law,” said Interim Police Chief Chris Carden. “It is ever-evolving, so we are trying to stay abreast of the most recent changes and make sure our people are trained with the most current and correct information.”
At least four hours of immigration training is now required for all certified law enforcement by the Alabama Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Commission.
Sgt. Rondell Muse will instruct the course at B. B. Comer Memorial Library Jan. 17 and 19. Muse is certified to teach it after completing the necessary APOSTC training.
Muse said the course teaches officers what they are expected to do to enforce the law.
“This law is not aimed at getting rid of people,” Muse said. “This law is to make sure people are legal within the state of Alabama.”
Training will cover what to do when an illegal alien is identified, Muse said.
“An important thing to know is that the federal government decides if somebody is illegal, not us,” he said. “I will also teach the how to determine if someone is potentially illegal without disturbing their rights as a person. No matter where a person is born, they still have rights, and we have to respect that.”
Enforcing the immigration law is a high-liability issue for law enforcement, Carden said.
“We’re liable for enforcing it, but we’re also liable for not enforcing it,” he said. “When the state issues a law to all local government, we’re held to it and have to enforce it.”
Each jurisdiction is responsible for its own training hours. Sylacauga invited other municipalities because it had a certified instructor, Carden said.
“I met with Mayor Wright and we decided to make it into a county-wide training course,” Carden said. “We invited city officials to come also, because this issue is important for everyone to understand.”
Carden said local government from Talladega and Coosa counties will be in attendance, including mayors, elected officials and law enforcement.
“We are trying to take the proactive approach to educate our people and also to use our resources to offer training to anyone else that needs it,” he said.
Carden said he anticipates more training as the law develops.
“The immigration law is not specific to one immigration issue. It’s about all immigration and all nationalities, and it’s very complex,” he said. “I’m sure we will need continued training as it goes on.”
Muse said the public can visit the Department of Homeland Security website for information about the law.
Last-minute entries to the course should contact Sgt. Tommy Allen at 256-245-4334. Attendees are advised to park in the alley off of Third Street.
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