Law enforcement discusses \'sovereign citizen prevention\'

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COLUMBIA - The Law Enforcement Training Institute held its annual sovereign citizen awareness seminar Wednesday for officers.

A sovereign citizen is anyone participating in an activity that crosses over to criminal acts like assaults or bombings. 

Adam Duncan, assistant academy director, explained an example of that type of person: "They love the country but they believe that the government is illegitimate and where they kind of cross the line from someone who has those ideologies is someone we would classify as a sovereign citizen."

Duncan said the training is essential for the continued safety of citizens around mid-Missouri and making sure officers know what to do in any situation.

"Ultimately, enforcement isn't about punishing behavior in the past. It's about modifying future behavior. One of the ways of doing that is to have skilled officers who know, kinda the way, the way these types of investigations often go. That way they can make sure that the documentation, the evidence, those things that are needed whenever it goes to court, are really in order," Duncan said.

He said recognizing patterns early on and sharing effective experiences and knowledge from officers who have dealt with these types of calls is key to a successful conclusion in any area of Missouri.

The training included experiences from previous officers, identifying unusual behavior, identifying individuals who could cause a threat and ways of preventing erratic behavior.