Dunwoody residents Jim Sturgis, Ron Silvers, Jim Beattie and Stan Bernstein were recently honored for their 10 years of service as volunteer bailiffs for the city’s Municipal Court.
“After a career in law and law enforcement, being a volunteer bailiff is a great opportunity to serve again, if only on the sidelines, with the added benefit of watching our new city evolve,” Sturgis said in a press release.
It’s rare for courts to have volunteer bailiffs. The program was started to save tax dollars and keep police officers on the streets, according to city officials.
Dunwoody’s court system began operating in February 2009, just three months after Dunwoody officially became a city. Since then, the number of volunteers and positions has changed. Today, 13 volunteers cover an average of three court sessions every week, the release states.
During each court session, there are typically five bailiffs and armed police officers present. The police officers provide courtroom security for defendants, judges and prosecutors, while the bailiffs assist with tasks such as checking in defendants, swearing in witnesses, directing visitors to solicitor and probation offices and handling court paperwork, according to the news release.
Dunwoody’s bailiffs are mostly retired, longtime Dunwoody residents. Some, but not all, have law enforcement backgrounds. Together, the bailiffs have provided more than 10,000 volunteer hours since the court opened in 2009.