When crime goes up and families can't get closure because violent offenders can't get prosecuted, most of the commissioners will be AWOL and silent. They will let Craig take any heat for having to release violent offenders. Craig is doing work that is nationally recognized; why stop the progress?
Cutting back on essential needs like felony prosecutors is the wrong move. In the article Craig suggested cutting car allowances for himself and others; but will Commissioners cut their car allowances? No. Commissioners recently increased their salaries and car allowances. That's the first thing that should be cut; they already make more than $120,000 per year. In contrast, the Mayor and City Council get zero money for car allowances.
There are so many quotable items in the article, but a couple really stand out:
The cuts, Watkins said, "would decimate us to the point where we would have to ask: 'Which criminals do you want us to prosecute?' "and this one:
County Commissioner Mike Cantrell suggested that Watkins begin his cost cutting by eliminating one of the three prosecutors from each of the felony courts. Those who remain, he said, can manage the jail population "the same as we're doing right now."
The 51 prosecutors assigned to the 17 felony courts each handle more than 300 cases a year, the district attorney's office said. Other cases are handled in those courts by units that focus on crimes like child abuse, gangs, organized crime and family violence.
First Assistant District Attorney Terri Moore said in the article that prosecutors already work hours of overtime for free because the office is understaffed. "This place is a legal sweatshop," she said. "How dare they talk about making it worse?"
Commissioners are always crowing about having the lowest taxes in the state; but at what cost to crime victims and the general public is this so-called accomplishment achieved? If you do that, you also should brag about the backed up courts, the lack of staffing, and the long length of time that it takes for a crime victim to get justice through the system. Doesn't make much sense, now does it?
When talking about the potential deficit that the City faces, Mayor Tom Leppert and other city council members have said that they won't support any cuts in police and public safety. It's time for the County Commissioner's court to do the same.