“It helps get our officers up to speed and aware of things to look for and it raises community awareness,” Poe said.
Sumiton Police Chief T.J. Burnett added, “It is a wonderful opportunity to have high-quality training at low cost.”
Tuesday night officers from four Walker County departments listened to Agent Lynn Shobe of the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center and formerly of the U.S. Treasury Department present Fraud and Financial Crimes, which included information regarding telemarketing crimes, as well as other crimes that local departments often face.
Shobe also told the officers that many drug and gang organizations are now involved in identity fraud and financial crimes as a way to back their operations.
Poe said he believed the information regarding identifying and assisting victims of fraud, especially elderly victims was invaluable for the officers because that demographic can be “extremely vulnerable” to telemarketing schemes.
In addition to providing valuable training to area police, Dora Police Chief John Duchock said he welcomes any opportunity to work closely with neighboring Sumiton because he believes that increased cooperation between the departments will lead to better coverage for residents of both cities.
“As law enforcement agencies, we need to network. Criminals don’t know boundaries and they network every single day,” Duchock explained. “It’s good for us to work with them so that the first time we see them isn’t in an emergency situation. It’s good to know who they are when you have to back each other up. This offers us the opportunity to build a bridge between Sumiton and Dora and offer low-cost training for other cities as well as our own officers.”
The next training will be Nov. 1 at 5:30 p.m. at Bevill State’s Sumiton Campus and will include a drug update. All area law enforcement officers are invited to attend. Contact Sumiton or Dora Police or the Walker County Coroner’s Office for more details.
“We invite members of agencies from all over the county and into West Jefferson County to join us,” Poe said.