Raising the bar for criminal prosecution process
This past fiscal year our prosecutors charged 7.7 percent more adult felonies in the Pinal County Superior Court from the prior year and 41.8 percent more felonies since 2008. More specifically we received 4,001 cases for potential felony prosecution in fiscal 2012 compared to 3,767 during last fiscal year and charged 2,813 cases compared to 2,596 cases during the same period; of the 2,813 cases 946 were indicted by the grand jury and 1,867 were referred to the Early Disposition Court (EDC).
Support for crime victims
We notified victims of 52,208 specific court and legal proceedings during the past fiscal year, compared to 44,071 in fiscal 2011. In addition, PCAO victim advocates provided 30,253 individual services to victims of crime in fiscal 2012, compared to 26,957 in fiscal 2011. The Victim Compensation board reviewed 74 new claimant applications and awarded a total of $86,703.61 in direct payments or reimbursements for lost income or for expenses of medical, mental health and funeral costs to victims.
We collected millions in child support for single parents
The Pinal County Attorney’s Office Child Support Division collected $ 22,382,522 by the end of fiscal 2012 for more than 11,000 Pinal County single parent families.
Most other counties rely on the Arizona Department of Economic Security and the Arizona Attorney General to collect child support. PCAO and two other counties believe it is more effective to do it locally.
News on the prescription drug fight
The Pinal County Attorney’s Office Prescription Drug Turn-in program is entering a new phase. Police departments throughout the county installed special prescription drug drop off boxes to facilitate prescription drug turn-ins on a daily basis. Police departments in Apache Junction, Casa Grande, Coolidge and Eloy already have boxes. Maricopa, Florence and Superior are working on installing them. Also, the Arizona City Fire District obtained special permission and installed a box to serve residents in that community. Plans are now underway to install boxes in San Tan Valley as well. The boxes are specially made to safeguard the dropped off prescription drugs.
The Pinal County Attorney’s Office will continue to sponsor prescription drug turn-ins during events throughout the county and educate the public about the dangers involved in the illegal use of prescription drugs.
In October the statewide Arizona Substance Abuse Partnership is launching a pilot Prescription Drug Reduction Initiative in Pinal County. One of the components will be higher utilization of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). The Pinal County Substance Abuse Council, chaired by County Attorney James P. Walsh, will participate in the pilot program.
Outreach to those that need us most
PCAO works with community groups and provides support for crime prevention efforts throughout the county. We focus on our seniors and young people. We participated in over 46 events and provided information about identity theft, substance abuse, car theft/prevention, legal issues for seniors and victims of child abuse and domestic violence. In addition, PCAO representatives participated in 123 community meetings for anti-substance abuse coalitions, TRIADs (serving seniors), social service networks and DV coalitions.
Criminals’ money put to good use
PCAO contributed over $203,795 in RICO (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization) funds to 66 different community organizations and programs to support community and after school programs for young people to provide alternatives to drugs and gang involvement.