Rainsville Police Chief Kevin Smith started off the first class of the Citizens Academy Tuesday night.
The Citizens Academy is a five-week long program designed to inform Rainsville residents of what the police department does.
The class meets once a week to discuss different topics involving law enforcement and citizens’ constitutional rights.
Smith started Tuesday’s class by dispelling some popular myths about law enforcement. With more than 20 years of experience in law enforcement, Smith said he has heard his share of law enforcement myths. The first myth Smith dispelled is that the police department is funded by handing out tickets.
“Everyone thinks I can fund a police department with tickets,” he said. “Do you know how much we make as a department on the citations we hand out? Only $15.”
The second thing Smith dispelled is that there is a quota system for the police officers. He pointed out that it is actually illegal to place a daily quota on tickets.
After dispelling some more common myths, Smith got into the meat of the course– our constitutional rights as citizens.
Smith gave everyone in the class a copy of The Constitution of the United States
He began with the explanation of the Bill of Rights, which is made up of the first 10 amendments to The Constitution.
Smith went over, in detail, the First Amendment through the Eighth Amendment and explained how those rights pertained to his field of expertise in particular. He answered questions and stressed the importance of citizens knowing their rights.
“On my desk right now, I have a Bible and a copy of The Constitution of the United States,” he said. “I keep those two things with me wherever I go.
“As law enforcement officers, it’s our duty to uphold the law to protect citizens and as citizens, you have the right to know what your constitutional rights are.”
Rainsville Police Department School Resource Officer Tim Devlin will lead the second week of Citizens Academy Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Rainsville Police Department.