For five straight Wednesdays in July, attorneys from the District Attorney’s Office in Covington provided training for the Slidell Police Department to help officers strengthen the materials they present for prosecution and improve their court appearances as witnesses.
Chief of Trials Bruce Dearing and several other Assistant District Attorneys conducted the seminars at Camp Villere in Slidell on report writing, appearing as a trial witness, understanding information disclosure obligations according to Brady case law, and more. Dearing said the training is beneficial to the District Attorney’s Office, as well as the police officers. “I tell them, ‘I’m here to benefit y’all,’” Dearing said. “’But I have an ulterior motive. If y’all deliver a better report to our office, we’re more likely to achieve the correct result.’ It definitely benefits both sides.”
Assistant District Attorney Jessica Brewster suggested the training, which has included about 25 to 30 officers per two-hour session. The sessions have gotten such good reviews that at least two other agencies have expressed an interest in participating.
In addition to Dearing and Brewster, the other Assistant District Attorneys who have participated include Nick Noriea, William Macke, and Harold Bartholomew.
“It’s also a good opportunity for us to interact with new officers and put faces to names,” Dearing said of the training.