Scott Ballard District Attorney
November 7, 2013
In this line of business you spend a lot of effort catching people doing bad. This week was refreshing.
I caught a lot of folks doing good.
We had a Community Awareness Seminar at McIntosh High School Tuesday night.
I’ve written about these before. They are the brainchild of Sam Sweat, an Assistant Superintendent of Fayette County Schools. About once a quarter several key law enforcement and school officials sit on a panel at a high school auditorium and answer questions from students. The idea is to have a dialogue. We can offer them information that they need and we benefit by hearing from them.
Tuesday there were about 60 students there. That impressed me. I was equally impressed by the public officials who came on a weeknight to sit on the panel. The Fayette School Superintendent, Dr. Joseph Barrow, was there. So were Peachtree City Police Chief Skip Clark, Sheriff Barry Babb, and Dawn Oparah (a person who wears many hats when it comes to helping the community, but was this night there as part of her role with the NAACP). It felt good to watch government work in the way it was designed—hand-in-hand with the people.
In Pike County I caught others doing good. Prosecutors came from the Chattahoochee Circuit (where Columbus is) to handle a vehicular homicide trial for us. We had conflicted out of the case because of the relationship of the defendant to someone in the court system.
These prosecutors received no extra pay for helping us. They still have heavy responsibilities back in their circuit. But, they worked very hard on our case and impressed me with their skill, diligence and professionalism.
But, they weren’t the only ones I caught doing good.
Tuesday afternoon while I was driving in Fayetteville, I pulled over to allow eight deputies rush past me going toward Spalding County on Highway 92. I saw two Fayetteville Police cars by the side of the road at the city limits, lights flashing and waiting if needed. Later I learned what was happening.
A suspected armed robber was fleeing from Spalding County and deputies there were in pursuit. Leading the charge, chasing at 100 miles per hour, was the sheriff. That’s right, Spalding County Sheriff Wendell Beam was in the thick of this chase.
In fact, when the criminal stopped his car and began running on foot, Sheriff Beam jumped out of his car and ran after him. To the delight of law enforcement officers in both counties, he announced over the radio that he had the suspect in custody.
Attaboy, Sheriff! We’re proud of you.