The annual law enforcement symposium hosted by Schuylkill County District Attorney James P. Goodman got underway today at the Pottsville Club with police officers from borough and townships in the county attending.

A wide variety of topics were discussed on issues affecting law enforcment. Those issues included U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement with officers from this branch interpretating the enforcement of immigration laws and reviewed what information would benefit law enforcement officers when arresting illegal immigrants. Mark Szalczyk, deportation officer and Attorneys Alice Song Hartye and Brian McDonnell, assistant chief counsel, addressed the group.

Christopher Orozco, a Hazleton Police Department detective, spoke about identifying gang operations. Louis DiRienzo, a postal inspector, spoke on bank, wire and mail fraud and on how to detect and investigate financial crimes. Rick Miller spoke about the law dealing with ignition interlocks ordered by the court on cars of motorists who are repeat offenders of drunken driving.

County Sheriff Joseph Groody spoke on the central booking and fingerprinting services provided. Goodman and Assistant District Attorney A.J. Serina spoke about the new protocal for filing certain felony charges and of a new bad check program initiated because of a growing number of bad checks being circulated in the county.

Wednesday the symposium will focus on training law enforcement or investigating and prosecuting drug cases. Detectives Erick Echevarria and Mark Azeff, from Montgomery County's district attorney's office, and Pennsylvania State Trooper Michael Skahill, all who specialize in drug arrests, will offer practical tips in conducting safe and effrective drug prosecutions.

Attorney William Reiley, who is the prosecuting attorney for the Schuylkill County District Attorney's Drug Task Force, commented the symposium is a "practical course which is designed to help officers conduct investigations."

Also scheduled to address the group Wednesday is Jeffrey Aster, from the state Attorney General's Office, who will provide a Narcotics Identification Kit (NIK) certification test for police officers and all law enforcement officers completing the test will receive a NIK certificate.

Goodman stated, "The purpose of the symposium is to help provide law enforcement with updates on relevant topics affecting law enforcement in Schuylkill County and it is important we continue to educate law enforcement and provide them with the necessary tools to help them do their job."

The funds for the seminar are received from the district attorney's office from the drug forfeiture account, which consists of monies confiscated in drug raids and the monies are turned over to the fund by the court.