- - Officers who had no idea how to testify in the first place.
- - Officers who had very obviously not taken any time to review their cases beforehand, so they were stuck fumbling for simple answers when asked the particulars.
- - Officers who had no system of organization for their cases and tickets, again looking incompetent as they dug through piles of paper seeking things.
- - Officers (and a prosecutor) who didn't know the elements of their offenses, in order to show the crime committed; another who didn't know case law and policy which made his arrest a valid one when he was questioned; and one who didn't even know which jurisdiction his offense took place in when asked.
Etc. etc. - to the point of the judge just about banging his head on the bench; doing everything but giving hints "sounds like.... might be.... maybe...."
It bothers me when I see things like this too. IMHO, courtroom testimony is one of the most serious aspects of this job. Whether you are affecting someone's pocketbook through a traffic summons, or their freedom through possible incarceration, or ultimately potentially their very life, you owe them your utmost professionalism and preparation. Taking a bit of time before the day to look over your cases; being able to explain what happened to a judge or jury; and simply being on-time, organized, and ready for the day is the very least we can do. Officers who do otherwise are a discredit on the profession, their training and their communities.