Two Georgia officers made headlines this month.
One was an officer in Cobb County who has been commended for preventing a Navy veteran from attempting to kill himself over Memorial Day Weekend. According to reports, Smyrna K-9 Officer Daniel Sperano who is also a member of the Special Operations Unit was working off-duty in Mableton when a civilian approached him and explained that a man was acting strangely and standing on a bridge nearby.
Officer Sperano talked to the man, who was on the bridge at Veterans Memorial Highway. The man told the officer that he “wanted to die.” These moments were captured on the officer's body cam. Officer Sperano, a fellow veteran, stayed with the man, eventually persuading him to step back.
Another officer was out of Savannah. According to reports, Officer William Eng raced up three flights of stairs at an apartment building to save the life of a choking newborn baby. These moments were also captured on body cam.
He performed CPR and chest compressions until the baby started to cry and was revived. "I stopped and I turned her to my face and saw her eyes open and she started moving," Eng said. "I was so relieved."
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, it is important for me to focus on the brave and positive acts committed by police officers on a daily basis. As defense attorneys, we tend to come off as critical because we are more or less the check and balance against government indiscretion. However, the role we play is actually much more complicated than people tend to believe.
We work with police officers and prosecutors every day. Without a good working relationship with the police, we would not be able to achieve a fair outcome for our clients. Fairness does not always mean an acquittal or dismissal of charges. Fairness very often means a proportional outcome through a plea bargain or other court-ordered disposition. Without good our relationships with police officers, such outcomes would become impossible.
The police perform an essential role in our society. They are our first responders to emergencies, the people citizens calls when they are threatened with harm, the first to appear at a traffic accident, and the first to appear when our persons or property are in danger. Without the police, we cannot have a functioning society. The good our police do, every day, far outweighs the acts of a small number of bad actors.
As a firm of criminal defense attorneys in the state of Georgia, we want to reach out and thank our police and veterans for all that they do. Lately, officers have been getting a lot of negative media attention, and we believe it is also so important to show that other side of the coin.
Yes, we are the people you call when you are arrested or charged with a crime in Georgia. However, always remember, the police are who we call when we see an accident or witness a crime or even when someone is suspicious outside our homes.
So my advice to all of my clients is to remember that police are people too, and not to forget that they are here to help all of us.