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January 2024

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The month of January brought a new year filled with hope and enthusiasm and we look forward to doing more awesome work here at The People’s Office. Here’s a look at what we’ve been up to over the last month. Your January Community Newsletter has arrived.

Highlights

Make the Call Campaign Part 3 of 3 launch

As we conclude our Make the Call campaign with part 3 of the series rest assured that more PSAs that impact our community will be on the way from our PCAO Communications team including gun safety, road rage, and more. 

PCAO’s “Make the Call” public awareness campaign has moved to the next phase with a short Public Service Announcement that uses police body-worn camera footage to illustrate how Narcan can save a life if administered early in an opioid overdose in progress. See it here.

MLK 2024 Celebrations

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Once again The People’s Office participated in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. virtual breakfast and march. Laura shared her thoughts during the online breakfast event about her visit to Selma and Montgomery Alabama last year along with prosecutors from across the country to learn more about justice reform, discuss solutions, and examine its impact on our society today.

We then walked with community members at the 2024 march and shared the importance of making a change in our justice system you can see the remarks here. We also got word that the MLK Breakfast will be in person next year and we’re looking forward to attending. 

Laura also spoke at the League of Women Voters of Greater Tucson National Day of Racial Healing earlier in the week at the YWCA Southern Arizona in advance of the Martin Luther King holiday. See her comments by clicking here.

As Dr. King said in homage to Mahatma Gandhi: “The old law of an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”

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The PCAO Year Three Review is out!

You can see the video version of our Year Three Review on our YouTube channel

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Looking back at 2023
The third year of The People’s Office administration was the year we began to emerge from the devastating effects of the COVID pandemic so that we could stop back-pedaling and begin moving forward with the many initiatives and priorities that we came here to accomplish.

Driven by the Core Values that have guided us since coming to this office in 2021, we began building new programs to bring long-overdue reforms to the criminal justice system, while forming new partnerships designed to foster a healthier and safer Pima County.

Visit our website to read about the work we did in 2023 in our “Year Three Review”. You can also see the video version on our YouTube channel.  

Printed copies of the Year Three Review are available in the lobby at 32 N. Stone Avenue.

We already have readers like Carmen Ortiz from Southern Arizona Legal Aid checking out our Year Three Review!!

A New Year is time for greater change

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For so many reasons, turning the calendar over from one year to the next allows us to think about the idea that great change can now happen. But we tend to think it takes great force of will and courage to drive real and lasting change.
 
Here at “The People’s Office,” we are looking back at 2023 and asking ourselves how we can double down on our service to the community.
 
From two years ago, homicide is down 36 percent and robbery has dropped by 39 percent. But aggravated assault numbers have held steady. So, we are looking at using this downtick in some violent crimes to further reduce others, such as non-fatal shootings and other assaults.
 
Since January of 2023 were presented with 2,273 organized retail theft cases, and we pursued a whopping 92% of them.
 
What can we learn from this data? Are we making a dent? Is the money being used wisely? We will be studying the recidivism rate to see what we can do better.
 
2023 was also a year of training dozens of volunteers, mediators, and facilitators in the practice of Restorative Justice (RJ.)
 
As we move some of those property cases, immediately above, into our new RJ program, how will the recidivism rates compare? And how much taxpayer money will be saved? These are all questions we will examine moving forward.
 
If you can’t tell, the excitement from 2023 only grows here. Yes, it’s now 2024, and the work is well underway.

Remembering January 8, 2011

Jan. 8, 2011, is a day Pima County residents won’t soon forget. It was the day our community was transformed when a lone gunman opened fire at a “Congress on your Corner” event hosted by Gabrielle Giffords, then a United States Representative, killing six and wounding 13 more.
 
A memorial west of the Pima County Historic Courthouse honors those killed and wounded in that tragic shooting, offering community members and visitors a place of remembrance, reflection, and inspiration.

If you haven’t visited the quiet reflecting pools and gardens that comprise the memorial, you are encouraged to do so. There, you will find symbols that represent the qualities, interests, and values of each of the 19 people honored at the memorial, with QR codes that allow you to learn more about each of them.
 
There are also symbols on the monument that honor the law enforcement agents, first responders, and medical personnel who sprang into action to treat the victims and bring the perpetrators to justice.
 
-Source @Pima County

Changes in PCAO Leadership

January saw us convening of the Criminal Division at PCAO to deliver the oaths of office for new Criminal Chief Josh Moser and new Appellate Chief Bill Brammer. It was also a chance to discuss the obstacles we will face in 2024.

Our Superior Court is under administrative pressure to move criminal cases more quickly through the system, and while this will be very stressful on our already hard-working prosecutors, our instruction is to handle the rollercoaster with professionalism and grace.

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Looking for more lawyers

Lawyer's desk

We launched the first step of this spring’s lawyer recruitment with a night spent at the other law school up in the Phoenix area. It was very nice to see a group of 70 law students excited to talk about Law in the Public Interest. It was also good to be back home. Bear Down!

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In late January, Chief Deputy County Attorney Baird Greene visited Washington, D.C. to meet with aspiring young prosecutors as well as with representatives of Arizona’s Congressional Delegation to discuss the need for additional funding for PCAO’s Victim Services Division.

The first town hall meeting of 2024

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Laura and other PCAO staff from Victim Services, our Detectives Division, and the Criminal Division will hold a town hall hosted by Law Matters Live Radio to answer your questions about The People’s Office. If you would like to attend be sure to register seating is limited. 

The People's Office out in the community

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Now that the holiday season is behind us, we welcome the return of “Outreach Season.” It’s that time of year when people settle into a more normal routine and the desert weather is the envy of most of the country. We celebrate it by getting out and helping our community in so many ways.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Southern Arizona (NAMI) held a beautiful event on the morning of January 11, celebrating their work in the community and honoring dedicated volunteers and staff members going above and beyond. Laura served as an honorary speaker and was moved to be in the company of those with lived experience in the behavioral health system who are now helping others navigate that same system, including advocating for services and resources in our County.

Prepping and Painting Utterback Middle School

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Laura was joined by members of the PCAO outreach team and volunteers from our office and from Higher Ground on Saturday, Jan. 20 at Utterback Middle School, where we spent the morning prepping and painting the school’s food storage room in advance of an important facility assessment. You can see more pictures on our Facebook page here.

Standing Up for Victims in Pima County

On Thursday, Jan. 25, we set up a table at the El Pueblo Neighborhood Center as part of the Stand Up for Your Community resource fair, to support survivors of domestic violence and child abuse. We are grateful to the Children’s Advocacy Center and Banner Health for putting on the event, and to all the partners who made it a success.

The event was designed to provide a one-stop location where victims of domestic violence or child abuse can find all of the legal assistance and support they need.

During our time at the event, Tucson Police responded to a domestic violence call and brought the victim to the location, where all of those services, including an order of protection, were quickly granted rather than the usual wait period.  This is victim support as it should be.

Barrio Restoration

On Saturday, Jan. 27, our outreach team and wonderful volunteers joined Barrio Restoration and Casa Maria in one of our favorite activities of helping to pick up litter and beautify neighborhoods. This time we made a stop in the City of South Tucson to push forward our efforts of providing public safety and health.
It’s all about the community at “The People’s Office.”

Spreading good will in the Amphi Neighborhood

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We held our first annual report meeting of the year with the Amphi Neighborhood Association, which also recognized Community Outreach Coordinator Sofia Blue for successfully mediating interactions between neighborhoods and law enforcement. On top of that, there was also a special moment for Tucsonan Hassan Clement.

He received a Safety Champion Award for promoting the well-being of his community and for his selfless advocacy for tenant’s rights to fair and proper housing. By the way, it was his birthday as well. Happy Birthday, Hassan!

Messages of the Month

Sankt-Petersburg Russia November 11, 2017: Apple iPhone 7 on wooden table with icons of social media facebook, instagram, twitter, snapchat application on screen. Smartphone Starting social media app.

Here’s a look at some of the links to social media messages we shared throughout January.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month
Stalking Awareness Month
88-Crime Tip Line

The cold weather made its way through the Old Pueblo

Our folks in Civil made sure they stayed warm over the cold days this month including Civil Chief Deputy Sam Brown who had to find an excuse to break out his panda beanie!!!

Pictured here is Officer James Allerton who gave a blessing, as hundreds of First Responders attended a prayer breakfast on January 26th. As the sister of law enforcement, Laura was especially glad to join in and pray for a safe and healthy year.

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A cool scene downtown, check out these students from City High who decided to use their morning break on 1/26 to wish downtown drivers a happy day and lots of love. It made our day. We hope this picture makes your day too. SEE YOU NEXT MONTH!!

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