Interim Police Chief Chris Carden said the training, held Tuesday and Thursday at B. B. Comer Memorial Library, went better than expected.
“We’re very pleased with the turnout,” Carden said. “We had about 80 people each time, which is more than we anticipated.”
Councilman Walter Jacobson said the course was a “fantastic opportunity” to bring people to Sylacauga.
“It’s exposure for the city and it also meets their training needs,” Jacobson said. “Most importantly, it explains the responsibility on officers and the decisions they have to make to carry out the law effectively.”
Sgt. Rondell Muse instructed the course after being certified by the Alabama Peace Officers Training and Standards Commission, which now requires four hours of immigration training for all certified law enforcement.
“We’re happy to be able to put it on for everybody,” Muse said. “They seem to be absorbing the information really well. This is going to be a positive as far as enforcing the law properly.”
The course focuses on how to approach a situation when an illegal alien is suspected.
“An illegal alien could be anybody,” Muse said. “We have to have a reasonable suspicion, and from there we collect the information and give it to (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), which then determines if that person is illegal. That decision is not up to us.”
Investigator Mike Moore said he better understands the law after attending training.
“It definitely clarified some aspects of the law for me,” Moore said. “Having the department up to date on everything will help officers protect themselves as well as protect citizens.”
Muse said the only thing citizens need is a valid form of identification.
“All we’re looking for is a valid driver’s license,” Muse said. “If you don’t have that, we’ll ask to see a passport or a Visa. We’re checking to make sure that ID is in its true and correct form and has not been altered.”
Carden commended the department for its efforts to host the training.
“Sgt. Muse presented the information clearly and effectively,” he said. “Also, Sgt. Tommy Allen and Officer Renea Cummings did a great job coordinating the event. We think it went well, and we’re glad to offer our resources to the rest of the county.”
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