Tuesday night, the Dalton Police Department's 2010 Citizens' Police Academy wrapped up with a look at the department's School Resource Officer program and also a discussion of Criminal Procedure.
Officer Terry Smith, one of the department's first School Resource Officers, spoke to the Citizens' Academy group first. Officer Smith is assigned to Dalton Middle School, and also floats between half of the city's elementary schools. Another officer is assigned to Dalton High School. The officers aren't the disciplinarians for the schools, and they aren't part of the administration. They simply investigate crimes on school campuses, serve as teachers for certain classes involving law enforcement, and attend all extracurricular events like sporting events or dances.
Detective John Helton wrapped up the evening with a two-hour look at Criminal Procedure. Simply put, Criminal Procedure covers everything from the way police officers go about the business of patrolling the city, investigating crimes, and arresting offenders. Detective Helton covered the issue of probable cause to make arrests, obtain warrants, and search suspects' homes or person. He also discussed how different case law affects the way police do business, such as the Miranda vs. Arizona ruling which states that officers have to inform an arrested suspect of their right to remain silent and right to an attorney before questioning. He also dispelled the myth that an officer must read those rights to an offender every time they make an arrest. The only time a Miranda warning is required is when an individual is under arrest and also being interrogated. That was the biggest surprise of the night for the members of the academy class.
Next week marks the official end of the Citizens' Academy, with a banquet at Ryman Hall.
Below: Officer Terry Smith (first picture) discusses his role as a School Resource Officer, and Detective John Helton leads a discussion of Criminal Procedure (click images for a larger version).