Sumiton Police Chief T.J. Burnett said it was no different in his department.
“Nobody wants to cover accidents, but it’s part of the job. We have to learn how to do it.”
The lecture series taught by Traffic Homicide Coordinator Shane Porter of the Alabama State Troopers is a statewide course offered locally by the Sumiton Police Department.
Officers from police departments in Hueytown to Hoover attended the seminar, to learn more about the proper way to handle a traffic accident involving a fatality.
“This gives officers a better understanding of what evidence needs to be preserved in a fatality, so when we go back four or five days later to investigate, it is still there,” said Porter.
Burnett added, “We want our officers to think about what they’re doing, and stop to preserve something that is needed in the case.”
The class will help departments in the area be able to work together in traffic accidents by teaching the same methods to each officer.
“We hope this helps put everybody on the same page,” said Burnett. “It will help everybody understand what each other is doing.”
The department has held one class already, and plans to continue the series in a few months.
“Having these classes is essential to growing your department. This will help an officer be able to take them from fender-benders to fatalities, and teach them the basics. Then they will be at a point where when they call for outside help, it’s all done right,” Burnett said.
Porter said he teaches about 12 classes a year to incoming troopers in Selma, and the classes are all the same. “Every trooper works an accident exactly the same,” said Porter.
Burnett said he was happy to have such an informative class be available in Sumiton, and wanted the lessons to be able to continue.
“I’ve been wanting to do this for a very long time, and now that we are, I am very happy.”