Clanton, Alabama

Police Department FAQs



1. Who is the Chief of Police at the Clanton Police Department and how large is the department?

Our present Chief of Police is Erick Smitherman. The Clanton Police Department began as a one man department in 1922 and now has more than 30 full-time sworn law enforcement employees.

2. What is the difference between a Police Officer and a Detective?

A Detective is a plain-clothes Police Officer responsible for the follow-up investigation of crimes and incidents. A uniformed patrol officer responds to and handles the initial investigation of calls for police service. The Detective continues the investigation started by the patrol officer but may also initiate specialized investigations directly assigned to the Detectives Division.

3. How do I go about filing a Police report - When should I call 911?

The Clanton Police Department requests that all residents only call 911 for certified police, fire, or medical emergencies. When calling 911, stay on the line and try to remain calm with your information ready. If you are calling to file a incident report for a minor offense, it can be made by calling (205) 755-1120.

4. When I call the Police, what information should I have ready to give them?

The information needed will vary based on what is being reported. The following is a list of questions that could be asked when you call for Police service. Not all questions would be applicable to every call. The Communications Operator is going to want to know:
  1. What is occurring or has occurred?
  2. The location of occurrence?
  3. Your name and phone number? (anonymous calls are accepted)
  4. Your location, if different from location of occurrence?
  5. The time of occurrence?
  6. Are there any injuries?
  7. Is anyone intoxicated?
  8. Are there weapons involved?
  9. How many people are involved?
  10. What is the descriptions of people involved? ( start from the top, i.e., gender, race, hair color, eye color, height, weight, scars/tattoos, clothing)
  11. What is the description of the vehicles involved? ( tag, color, make, model, year)
  12. What was the direction of travel for anyone leaving the scene on foot or in a or in a vehicle?
  13. Are there any witnesses? Are they still on the scene?
  14. Are there any animals at the house? Inside or outside?
  15. Is the location fenced? Are there any clotheslines or pools?
  16. Has anyone been outside?

5. What is my case status?

The case must be submitted through a computerized system that checks for errors and routes the report to the appropriate division. Once the case arrives to the correct division, a supervisor must assign the case to a Detective. Once the case is assigned, it is prioritized by the Detective. If there is an error in the way the report was written or filed a delay is possible. If the Detective is working weekends, nights or hours outside of the time the case was assigned a delay is possible.

6. What if I've realized there is additional stolen property. What do I now?

If you have not been contacted by a Detective, call (205) 755-1194 with your case number to update the case and property information over the phone (this includes adding serial numbers and other case information.)

7. What should I do if I'm involved in a traffic accident? Do I need to file a report?

If you have been in a crash involving injury, a drunk driver, a hit and run with suspect information, or if your vehicle is disabled requiring a tow, you should notify the policy agency having jurisdiction where the crash occurred for a report to be completed. If the cars are interfering with traffic flow and can be moved, then you must move them out of the roadway.

If you are involved in a crash with total damage of more than $250.00 (all vehicles or property) and there are no injuries, or criminal charges and vehicles are drivable, you are required to file a crash report. The form should be completed with the applicable information for all vehicles involved and mailed to the Department of Public Safety in Montgomery (address on the form ) with a copy to your insurance company. If total damage is less than $250.00 and there are no injuries, it is not necessary to report the accident, however, you should exchange driver information among the parties involved in the accident.

8. What should I do if I witness a crash?

If you witness a crash, if possible, stop on the side of the road and stay until the Police can arrive. If you are not able to remain, you should call the Police communications center at (205) 755-1120 or 911 if there are injuries, and advise the operator that you have witnessed the crash. The operator will forward your name and contact information to the investigating officer.

9. My vehicle was towed. Where is it now?

The Clanton Police Department does not operate an impound lot.  The City of Clanton contracts with several different wrecker companies in the Clanton area. If your vehicle is towed, the towing agency is responsible for the care and custody of your vehicle. Each business has their own pricing index. Most agencies charge a storage fee if the vehicle is not picked up by the owner on the same day.  The following towing services are currently approved for wrecker rotation calls in The City of Clanton.

Auto Collision Wrecker Service     (205) 755-6646
Baugh Ford Wrecker Service     (205) 280-4100
Mark's Towing & Auto Repair     (205) 280-1885
McKinnon Motors     (205) 755-3430
Southern Dixie     (205) 755-8473
Wheeler Wrecker Service     (205) 755-8044

10. How do I obtain a copy of my incident or accident report? How long must I wait for a copy of my report?

Depending on the nature of the Police investigation and case management review, reports are available in as little as 3 days but can be extended for longer periods of time if necessary.  The Clanton Police Department charges a small administrative fee of $3.00 for each copy of an report. Copies of reports are available during normal business hours only.  If you you need a copy of a report contact our Records Unit at (205) 755-1194 Ext. 327.

11. Where do I get my fingerprints done?

The Clanton Police Department is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. to take fingerprints. We offer the fingerprinting service for a fee of $15.00. It is the responsibility of the party requiring fingerprints to provide the blank fingerprint cards. We encourage individuals requiring this service to make an appointment with the Captain of Patrol by calling (205) 755-1194, Ext. 304.

12. I am purchasing a home. What is the crime rate in the area?

The Clanton Police Department publishes monthly crime reports in the local newspaper which represent criminal activity city-wide. The Police department does not designate any neighborhoods as high or low crime areas. Crime rates vary year to year and location to location.  

13. Will the Clanton Police Department respond to noise complaints?

Yes, if you are willing to sign a complaint against the person or persons that are creating the noise as defined in 13-156 of the City Of Clanton Code, an officer will be dispatched to address the complaint. In many cases, callers reporting noise complaints prefer to remain anonymous. In those cases the complaint will be dispatched to an officer to check in the course of his duties. If the officer determines that the noise is a violation under the ordinance, he/she will address the source of the noise. If the noise has stopped by the time an officer arrives, no Police action can be taken.

14. Will the Clanton Police Department respond to a call of a barking dog?

Yes, an officer will be dispatched on the same basis as that of a noise complaint (above) and provided the caller is willing to sign a complaint. If the dog is a nuisance on a regular basis, Clanton Animal Control should be contacted at (205) 755-1120.

15. Will the Clanton Police Department respond if I lock my keys in my car?

Unless there is an immediate danger to public safety (i.e., a child is locked inside), you will be asked to contact a towing company or a locksmith. If the vehicle is running and creating a hazard or if a child is locked in the car, the Police Department will respond. Clanton Police Officers do not respond to routine lock-outs; we will respond to animals locked in a car if the windows are closed and the situation could constitute animal cruelty.

Auto Collision Wrecker Service     (205) 755-6646
Baugh Ford Wrecker Service     (205) 280-4100
Mark's Towing & Auto Repair     (205) 280-1885
McKinnon Motors     (205) 755-3430
Pete's Wrecker Service     (205) 280-0607
Southern Dixie Wheel & Tire     (205) 755-8473
Wheeler Wrecker Service     (205) 755-8044

16. How do I report a reckless driver? Can I report them?

We encourage you to report DUI and reckless drivers. To aid us in locating this violator we will need as much information as possible such as a description of the vehicle (and driver, if possible), a tag number, direction of travel, and time lapse. If you are calling on a cell phone while following this errant driver, try to stay on the line. This will allow the dispatchers to update responding units to the violator's location and direction of travel. Never compromise your own safety or violate the laws and rules of driving that apply to you as well as everyone else on the road.

17. What should I do if I witness criminal activity or if I am a victim of a crime in Clanton?

First, make sure you are safe, and then contact the Police. If possible, make written notes of what you have seen, including descriptions, times, and locations, while your memory is still fresh. If the situation is an emergency call 911. If it is not an emergency, call the Clanton Police Department at (205) 755-1120. Follow the directions and answer the questions being asked by the Police or emergency call taker. Remain calm. It may be necessary for the Police Officer to speak to you directly; be prepared to meet the officer or provide a contact phone number.

18. Where can I find information on the City of Clanton Municipal Ordinances?

The City of Clanton has published all municipal ordinances online in order to share the most current information with the citizens.  The City of Clanton Municipal Code is available online at Municode.com

19. How do I pay a ticket before court?

The Clanton Municipal Court has partnered with Flat Rate Processing to accept payments online.  All non-mandatory traffic offenses can be paid online at the Clanton Municipal Court's website. If you wish to pay in person, the court office accepts cash, certified checks, and money orders. The court office does not accept personal checks.

20. Who do I call to ask about some who been arrested?

The City of Clanton does not operate and maintain a jail. All inmates arrested on municipal charges are booked and housed at The Chilton County Jail. The Chilton County Jail is located at 301 City Street, Clanton, Alabama, 35046. The phone number for the jail is (205) 755-1053.

21. How do I find out information about felony warrants?

If you want to provide the Clanton Police Department and the Probation Unit with a a tip about a fugitive or check on felony warrants, call (205) 755-1194 Ext. 309 or Ext. 314. 

22. Is there a curfew in Clanton for juveniles?

No, there is not currently a curfew for juveniles in the City of Clanton.

23. What can I do to crime-proof my home or business?

It is impossible to completely "crime proof" your home or business; however, it is possible to take steps that can make your property less vulnerable to burglary, such as using the proper locks, doors, windows, video cameras, alarms etc. You can contact our Detectives Division at (205) 755-1194 to inquire about lectures on home security or to request a personal security check on your home. Both services are free.

24. How do I have someone evicted?

The Clanton Police Department does not handle eviction orders. Evictions in Chilton County are handled through the Chilton County Sheriff's Office. For information call the Sheriff's Office at (205) 755-4698. You can also obtain information on landlord/tenant actions by contacting the Circuit Clerk's Office at (205) 755-4275.

25. How do I comment on a Clanton Police Officer or other employee?

We prefer that you start with the officer or employee's immediate supervisor; in the case of a Police Officer, that would be a Lieutenant or Sergeant. You may find out who the supervisor is by asking the officer/employee or contacting the Communications Center at (205) 755-1120.

26. What actions to take when stopped by a Law Enforcement Officer:

  1. What should I do when I see flashing lights behind me?

  2. If you see flashing lights behind you, you should reduce your speed and pull to the right lane or shoulder of the roadway. When an law enforcement officer is trying to stop you, you should pull off of the roadway when it is safe and come to a stop. If you are stopped at night, turn on your emergency flashers, interior dome light and place your hands on the steering wheel.  If you have multiple passengers inside the vehicle with you have them place their hands on the dash or headrest of the driver and passenger seats.  Limit your movements inside your vehicle until the officer approaches and requests your driver's license and insurance information.  Traffic stops are inherently unpredictable in the eyes of an law enforcement officer and reaching into your glove box or purse as the officer approaches only adds to an already tense situation.

  3. What if I am in a secluded area or want to verify that a real Law Enforcement Officer is pulling me over?

  4. When you see the lights flashing, slow down and pull to the right and turn your hazard lights on. This will act as an acknowledgement to the officer. If you have a cell phone, call 911 and tell the operator that you want to verify that an officer is trying to stop you. Listen to the operator's instructions as to what to do If you do not have a cell phone, stop in a well lit/well populated area, lock your door, roll your window down an inch and request the officer provide his/her department issued identification card. All Alabama peace officers have a department issued ID card. If you believe that a real officer is trying to stop you but you do not want to stop in a dark area, again slow down, pull to the right and activate your hazards. You can continue to drive until you reach the next well lit area. The important thing in both of these situations is to acknowledge the officer trying to stop you.

  5. What if I am being stopped by an unmarked Police car?

  6. Acknowledge the officer as described above. Call 911 to verify the officer's identity or stop in a well lit/well populated area and verify the officer's ID as described above.

27. What is Terrorism?

Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government or its citizens to further certain political or social objectives. Law enforcement generally recognizes two types of terrorism: domestic and international. Domestic terrorism is based and executed in the United States by our own citizens without foreign direction. International terrorism, which is connected to foreign governments or groups, transcends our nation's boundaries. Terrorist acts against U.S. citizens can occur anywhere in the world.

The Alabama Department of Homeland Security would like to tell all citizens if you "See Something, Say Something" if you notice something suspicious or see possible signs of terrorism please report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement.

See Something, Say Something

What is Terrorism? How You Can Help

Clanton citizens can play a role in preventing terrorist attacks. Certain activities or behaviors can indicate terrorist planning, especially when these activities occur at or near key facilities such as government, military, utility or other high-profile sites or places where large numbers of people gather. Examples of suspicious activity include:
  • Surveillance - Are you aware of anyone recording or monitoring activities, taking notes, using cameras, maps, binoculars, etc., near a key facility?
  • Suspicious Questioning - Are you aware of anyone attempting to gain information in person, by phone, mail, e-mail, etc., regarding a key facility or its personnel?
  • Tests of Security - Are you aware of any attempts to penetrate or test physical security or procedures at a key facility?
  • Acquiring Supplies - Are you aware of anyone attempting to improperly acquire explosives, weapons, ammunition, dangerous chemicals, uniforms, badges, flight manuals, access cards or identification for a key facility or to legally obtain items under suspicious circumstances that could be used in a terrorist attack?
  • Suspicious Persons - Are you aware of anyone who does not appear to belong in the workplace, neighborhood, business establishment or near a key facility? This does not mean that we should profile individuals, but does mean that we should profile behavior.
What Should You Do?
  • Dry Runs - Have you observed any behavior that appears to be preparation for terrorist activity, such as mapping out routes, playing out scenarios with other people, monitoring key facilities, timing traffic lights or traffic flow, or other suspicious activities?
  • Deploying Assets - Have you observed abandoned vehicles, stockpiling of suspicious materials or persons being deployed near a key facility? (Source: FBI)
  • If you do observe suspicious activity, report it to your local Police or sheriff's office. Or call the Clanton Police Department at (205) 755-1120.
Some guidelines when reporting suspicious activity include:
  • What is happening?
  • Who is doing it?
  • Where is it taking place?
  • When did you observe it?
  • Why are you suspicious?
The "See Something, Say Something" does not promote spying on your neighbor, invading someone's privacy, or taking the law into your own hands. It does not profile individuals who look, act, dress, or live differently than us. It strictly profiles behavior that may be linked to terrorism. To Report Suspected Terrorism please call the local Clanton Field Office of the FBI at (251) 895-3618.