DonSMALLAnyone who looked at the Benton Police Department parking lot on Thursday, Jan. 28, could have perceived that there was a Policeman’s Ball or some other festive event occurring. There were patrol vehicles, marked and unmarked, from 16 different agencies along with all the BNPD vehicles.

They were all here to see one man, a legendary law enforcement officer and longtime training instructor. Donald “Don” Kidd served 28 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and more than a decade with the Criminal Justice Institute.

Kidd said he was “very fortunate” that the FBI sent him to numerous courses during his long career, which he’s used to teach to hundreds of law enforcement officers.

“I used to teach all the legal instruction at ALETA in Camden, from 1975-1987, too,” he said. “I’ve belonged to the Prosecutors Association for many years and went to a lot of their seminars, and they sent me to NorthWest Traffic Institute for some of their legal instruction, then I went back to the FBI for legal seminars.”

Kidd said because the FBI and Prosecutors Assocation were “good to me” it allowed him to gain a plethora of knowledge concerning a wide variety of topics that many law enforcement officers normally aren’t privy to or presented with the opportunity to learn. It were these courses that led him to being the respected CJI instructor and made him the longtime training officer that he is today.

“I was in charge of law enforcement training for a while and ended up being the director,” Kidd said of working at CJI. “And since then I still write a legal newsletter for police, and teach a few classes on constitutional search and seizures, eyewitness identification, and various other legal topics.”

The training room of the BNPD was filled with 32 officers awaiting to hear the wisdom of Kidd on a subject he’s all too familiar with, the legality of search and seizures.
“This is basically a search and seizure course from vehicle searches, arrest law, entry of premises,” Kidd said. “It covers all aspects of search and seizure with the exception of search warrants. We try to go through the major U.S. Supreme Court cases, the Court of Appeals, and other circuits, and then the Arkansas cases too.”

“Everyone says the police have to enforce the law, but they have to know what that law is, and it’s very complex. (Officers) have to have a pretty good understanding of what the court’s want and what is expected of them. It’s a case of going back through and reemphasizing what some officers already know and build on it.”

The class was attended by officers from the Arkansas Highway Police, Arkansas State Police, Attorney General’s Office, Searcy Police Department, White County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas Community Correction, Arkadelphia Police Department, El Dorado Police Department, Conway Police Department, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Mena Police Department, Little Rock Police Department, White Hall Police Department, Arkansas State Capital Police, North Little Rock Police Department and Union Pacific Police.