Published December 21, 2016
We, the Grand Jury, serving at the December Session of the October 2016 Term make the following presentments:

1. We wish to thank the Honorable Melanie Cross, Judge, for her able instructions to this body, District Attorney Paul Bowden and the rest of the District Attorney’s staff, Sheriff Andy Hester and his department, Chief Clifford Jordan and his department, Clerk of Court Mary Lee Green, and our bailiff, Wayne Hobby.

2. The Grand Jury considered evidence presented concerning 28 offenses contained in 8 indictments and returned 28 True Bills, 0 No Bills, and 0 Tabled.

3. The Grand Jury received the Annual Report from Melissa Wood, the Chairperson of the Child Abuse Protocol Committee in Turner County. Said report is attached hereto as Exhibit A.

4. The Grand Jury inspected the Turner County Detention Center during its October Session. The Grand Jury found the jail to be in good working order with the exception of the kitchen. The Grand Jury recommends the kitchen, along with its appliances be modernized and updated to be more useful. Specifically the Grand Jury was concerned to learn the freezer in use is more than twenty (20) years old and recommends this be replaced.

5. The Grand Jury has a special request as it relates the Courthouse, 2nd Floor Ladies' Room. During the October and December terms, the Grand Jury found the door to the restroom did not have a doorknob, which makes it difficult to lock the bathroom. The Grand Jury recommends this door be fixed and a doorknob be added.

6. The Grand Jury also considered the Board of Equalization members. Odis Reese is a regular member whose term is set to expire December 31, 2016. The Grand Jury hereby reappoints Mr. Reese for another three year term to begin on January 1, 2017. The alternate member whose term would have expired on December 31, 2016 was never properly certified. The Grand Jury hereby recommends Keith Carter be appointed as an alternate member to the board for the term beginning January 1, 2017.

7. We respectfully request that the court order the within recommendations and presentments of the Grand Jury to be spread upon the minutes of the Turner Superior Court and be published in The Wiregrass Farmer and that the Clerk of Court send a copy of these presentments to the Turner County Commission.

This 12th day of December, 2016.
Alishia Dawn Denney, Foreperson
Martha Pirkle Carter, Clerk

It is ordered that the within recommendations and presentments of the Grand Jury be spread upon the minutes of the Turner Superior Court and be published in The Wiregrass Farmer and a copy be sent to the Turner County Commission.

This 12th day of December, 2016.
Melanie Cross, Judge, Turner Superior Court, Tifton Judicial Circuit

I, Mary Lee Green, Clerk of Turner Superior Court of said State and County, do hereby certify that the within and foregoing is a true and accurate copy of the presentments of the Grand Jury returned at the December Session of the October 2016 Term of Turner Superior Court.

This 12th day of December, 2016.
Mary Lee Green
Clerk, Turner Superior Court

Exhibit A

County: Turner Judicial Circuit: Tifton Judicial Circuit
Date of Submission: December 12, 2016

Pursuant OCGA § 19-15-2 the protocol committee shall issue an annual report to the Fall Term Grand Jury.

The report shall include the following:

1. Evaluate the extent to which the child abuse investigations during the 12 months prior to the report have complied with the child abuse protocol: Every case of child abuse in Turner County has complied with the child abuse protocol. There has been successful communication with all agencies involved with child abuse cases.

2. Recommend measure to improve compliance: The Tifton Judicial Circuit Child Abuse Protocol Committee is familiar with the necessity of making sure our children are safe in school. The situation that occurred in 2015, (in a separate county in the judicial circuit involving a teacher/coach allegedly sexually assaulting an 8th grade student on school premises) and now in 2016 another situation, (in a separate county in the judicial circuit involving the Principal of the High School failing to report abuse as a mandated. reporter), have been addressed. After reviewing the current protocol, it was established that steps to take when there are allegations of child abuse made within the school system are indeed already included in the current child abuse protocol. All mandated reporters are aware that child abuse allegations made to them must be reported and failure to do so will result in criminal charges.

3. Describe which measures taken within the county to prevent child abuse have been successful: Numerous outreach opportunities have been successful by presenting children and parents with information on child abuse at community events and to civic groups. Also presentations have been given to teenagers on Teen Dating Violence. The Turner County Connection along with many other collaborative partners, are active in presentations and events as well. "It's Ok To Tell", a program designed for children ages 5-9 and 10-15, shares through skits performed by The Patticake House employees the reasons why the child should tell if someone touches or hurts them. A weighted necklace is given to each child that attends for them to have as a constant reminder that if something is on their mind and "weighing them down" that it is always ok to tell a grown-up  they trust. The children are also empowered to be ambassadors for other children that are scared to tell. The Patticake House also coordinated the 11th annual Suitcases For Kids Project that provides clothing and gifts for foster children at Christmas.

Melissa Wood/ Tifton Judicial Circuit Child Abuse Protocol Commnittee Chair
Address: 408 North Tift Avenue Tifton, GA 31794 Phone: 229-382-4141
Email: or

The report shall be submitted to the:

1. County governing authority
2. Fall term grand jury of the judicial circuit
3. Office of Child Advocate, 7 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Suite 347, Atlanta, GA 30334
4. Chief superior court judge

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