Police learn from lawyers in special luncheon
Published 12:05 am Saturday, November 16, 2013
Law enforcement officers of all kinds filled the Kirbo Center banquet hall Wednesday afternoon for Officer Appreciation Days, a series of luncheons in Bainbridge, Cairo and Camilla designed to get officers and lawyers out of the courtroom and into a more casual setting.
South Georgia Judicial Circuit District Attorney Joseph Mulholland, whose office sponsored the luncheon, started the event four years ago.
“We see these guys in court on a daily basis, but we don’t really get time to talk to each other outside of the courtroom,” Mulholland said. “So we wanted to put something together every year that has two objectives. One is so my assistant district attorneys can talk to law enforcement officers and get a little bit of camaraderie. Show them how much we appreciate them.”
The second objective, Mulholland said, is to give law enforcement knowledge on specific subjects that he sees need to be addressed.
This year, the luncheon’s topic was courtroom testimony.
Patuala Circuit Judge Ronnie Lane spoke to the room about problems he has seen in the courtroom. Word choice, how to interact with witnesses and the jury and preparedness for the case were all points Lane stressed.
“I really would like to see better witnesses and better court procedures from the prosecution and the defense, and have people do them professionally,” Lane said. “If the trial is fair, usually you will end up with a just and a good result, with good lawyers on both sides who call witnesses who know how to testify and get up to tell the truth. That’s my main concern.”
Lane said that some lawyers and officers were doing a great job while others certainly had room for improvement. Better training is the basic factor Lane wants to improve upon.
“It’s great to see the Sheriff’s Office, the police department, Georgia State Patrol and GBI,” Mulholland said. “There were 12 different agencies here today. It’s great to see them all come together and break bread and talk about cases, and get a little bit of knowledge too from the bench.”
Next year, Mulholland said he plans to sponsor one big luncheon with all three counties.
“I think that’d be better anyways, just because law enforcement in Cairo and Camilla can interact with ours too,” Mulholland said.