D.A. requests funding for community prosecutor - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

D.A. requests funding for community prosecutor

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Could more community involvement help prevent crime in Albany and Dougherty county? District attorney Greg Edwards thinks so.

Tuesday he asked city commissioners to help pay for a new assistant district attorney who would focus as much are preventing crime as prosecuting criminals.

Edwards says the concept of community prosecution is designed to help prevent crime through improved relationships with citizens.

District Attorney Greg Edwards says prevention is the most important aspect of criminal justice."We don't want to have a victim we don't want to have a court trial, hopefully we can change a mind or give someone some information before they make a bad choice," he said.

Unfortunately, Albany has the same problems as a big city in terms of crime."We have our drug problem and we have our gang problem and these are specific areas that can be addressed by having community prosecutors involved," he said.

Tuesday Edwards requested the Albany city commission help fund a grant for a community prosecutor position.

Edwards says the Assistant District Attorney would assume normal courtroom duties but would also develop relationships with folks in the community. "What I want to do is put a ADA at the neighborhood watches and the Parent Teacher Organizations," he said.

He's requesting 125,000 or 175,000 to fund the position. "I could fund it for at least two to three years. After they fund it I will be able to say look here are the things we accomplished," he said.

Albany Police Chief John Proctor supports Edwards effort. "I'm willing to work with anyone who can make this city safer than it is now," he said.

This person would also serve as a liaison between the community and police officers. "Having a person in the community in the neighborhood, that would be able to meet with constituents, answer questions," he said.

And certain questions police officers may not be able to address the ADA can."They have their working knowledge of many things regarding the law..but it takes a lawyer to sometimes answer some legal questions," he said.

Edwards says the results should be measurable.

If approved, the next question would be how to fund the grant which could mean cutting existing programs or taking money from the reserve fund.


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