Law enforcement honored and awarded at annual luncheon

Published 4:53 pm Friday, May 18, 2018

Law enforcement officers from the five-county South Georgia Judicial Circuit met at the Kirbo Center in Bainbridge Friday for their annual luncheon and awards.

Guest speaker was Ken Hodges, a former prosecuting attorney who makes his home in Albany and is running unopposed as a candidate for the Court of Appeals.

His message to the group of policemen and deputies was basically, “Tell the truth.”

Email newsletter signup

He emphasized the importance of talking to all witnesses at an incident and detailing what they say. The Court and jury members are not present at the scene the way the investigating officers are. “Don’t overdo it or oversell it. Be sincere.”

He advised them to meet with the prosecutor beforehand and tell them the details.

“The jurors are deciding on someone’s life based on what you tell them. We have to make sure we do it right,” he said.

He also recommended they begin to act as professionals before they arrive at the courthouse, saying first impressions matter. “You are there to do your job, which is to tell the truth. Your job is not to get convictions, but to tell what happened.”

Another piece of advice was to use visual demonstrative aids when they have them to help jurors understand what happened, but he stressed the need to tell the prosecutor before doing so. “Don’t surprise them with things that aren’t in the report.” His tips to law enforcement also included the advice of not to argue with the defense attorneys, “as some of them will try to bait you. Don’t let them win that way.”

Four employees of the year were recognized by District Attorney Joe Mulholland, who organized the event and acted as host and emcee. He said what he likes best about this meeting is it gives law enforcement officers across the district a chance to get together, get acquainted and exchange ideas and information.

The counties that make up the South Georgia Judicial Circuit are Baker, Calhoun, Decatur, Mitchell and Grady.

Mitchell County Police Department winner was Sheila Adkins; representing Calhoun and Baker Counties Sheriff Departments was Tonjua Lewis; Dewayne Pearson was the winner from Cairo Police Department in Grady County and the Decatur County winner was Peggy Perkins.

Mulholland said the winners were all chosen because they are the ones in the departments that get things done. “They are always there when I need them.”