This week truly proved the old adage that taking a day off in the legal system in honor of a holiday will only serve up an avalanche packed into the remaining four days. Also, this week was very much victim-centric. We had multiple meetings with experts from across Southern Arizona who serve survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and abuse in the home. In the strife of Covid, unemployment, and evictions, we are taking every step possible to remain a strong partner to those serving our most vulnerable.
Very specifically, I held a meeting with State Sen. Victoria Steele and victims’ rights advocate Kat Stratford on the wealth of services available to survivors of sexual assault who receive immediate law enforcement intervention as opposed to the isolating journey a survivor must traverse if their report comes later in time. There is a clear need to lift up the services of SACASA and other agencies where you can walk in the door and receive immediate help. That includes the incredible people who work within our own Victim Services division, who filmed a PSA this week in service to those survivors of sexual assault who await answers from their medical forensic exams.
In other news:
- I had my first meeting with Tucson PD’s Mental Health Support Team (MHST) and Dr. Margie Balfour, medical director of the Crisis Response Center. They were made to wait their turn patiently because, as you might know, my brother Sgt. Jason Winsky founded the MHST many years ago for TPD. This is a team that has been co-responding to 911 calls with medical, behavioral, and social-work professionals since 2013. There is a clear need to highlight when the Crisis Response Line (520-622-6000) or when 911 should be called instead.
- The above very real, urgent & important needs require a robust public education campaign. These efforts need YOU to help spread the word by asking everyone you know to follow us on social media. Luckily, we have an extraordinary communications team in Joe Watson, Patrick Robles, Colin Wolff, Abbie James & Tony Gallego ready to lead the charge.
- On a high note, I spent the past two days with our Chief Deputy Tamara Mulembo, Criminal Chief Dan South, Mark Hotchkiss, and Lauren Deakin engaged in the most wonderful thing: new law students beating down our door for a law clerk position, new attorneys eager to learn here, and attorneys out in the community looking to join our effort. The reform we are undertaking here at the Pima County Attorney’s Office is not easy. To see these talented, quality, sincere professionals knocking on the door and asking to sign up is a fantastic affirmation of the changes we’re making.
To be continued,