As 2022 comes to an end, we want to highlight the exceptional work of our employees at MCAO. This year brought about many changes, but our employees remained committed to the office’s mission of holding criminals accountable, protecting victims’ rights, and helping prevent crime. Take a look at some of the accomplishments our employees achieved this year.
Expanding Efforts on Cold Cases
MCAO received approximately $3 million in grants from the Department of Justice. The first grant will support the ongoing testing of sexual assault kits, enhance law enforcement training, and hire additional detectives and crime analysts. The second grant will help further cold case investigations by paying for additional DNA testing, creating a countywide cold case database, and providing resources for law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. Since these grants were received, MCAO has hired a cold case analyst to review case information and start building a database.
Veterans Diversion Program
In March, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office launched a new pre-trial diversion program designed specifically for veterans. The program identifies and treats issues unique to veterans stemming from military-related trauma with evidence-based services and treatment before conviction. Any veteran who successfully completes the program will have their charges dismissed. This ensures they have access to employment opportunities and government services.
Policy Changes to Address Gun Violence
To address the surge of violent crime in Maricopa County, County Attorney Rachel Mitchell made important changes to Prosecution Policy 3.7 to require a prison sentence in any plea offer if a firearm is used in the commission of a crime. The policy was also changed so that if the defendant has a prior felony conviction and is a prohibited possessor, a plea offer in a misconduct involving weapons case includes a stipulation for prison.
MCAO Awards Community Grants
Every year, MCAO provides grants for local non-profits that seek to improve the wellbeing of our residents. For the 2022 grant cycle, MCAO awarded a total of $82,500 to seven local non-profit organizations. Learn more about these organizations here: www.maricopacountyattorney.org/246/RICO-Community-Grants
MCAO Retail Theft Task Force
In July of this year, Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell announced the start of a new organized retail theft team in response to an increase in organized retail theft. The team, consisting of multiple prosecutors and detectives, works with local businesses and law enforcement agencies to ensure these crimes are successfully prosecuted.
MCAO Recruitment Campaign
During these last two years, MCAO, like many other government agencies, faced a high vacancy rate across all positions. To help fill priority positions within the office, including attorneys, paralegals, and administrative professionals, County Attorney Rachel Mitchell launched a robust recruitment campaign in May of this year. The campaign has successfully helped decrease the office’s vacancy rate from 20% to 10%.
Ready to start a career in public service? Check out our career site: www.mcaocareers.com.
Employee and Office Awards
- Every year, employees at MCAO are recognized for their exceptional work and commitment to public safety. Here are this year’s winners:
- National Crime Victims’ Rights Week: Distinguished Service Award for Leadership—Shawn Cox
- National Crime Victims’ Rights Week: Legacy of Justice Award—Julie Done
- Tom Manos Outstanding Service Award—Patti Cordova
- ANOA Prosecutor of the Year—Ramsey Bronyah
2022 APAAC Awards
- Prosecutor Lifetime Achievement Award—Beth Beringhaus
- Legal Assistant Lifetime Achievement Award—Brett Reynolds
- Administrative Professional Lifetime Achievement Award—Sheetal Kumar
- Gerda & Kurt Klein Guardian of Freedom Award—Kristin Starr
Community Outreach and Engagement
This year, MCAO’s community outreach team was back and better than ever! Our community affairs coordinators provided safety presentations, hosted community events, and attended outreach festivals. In total, they offered 100 safety presentations, reaching over 12,000 residents. The team also collaborated with local law enforcement agencies to host 5 shred-a-thons, 3 catalytic converter events, and 2 community forums on fentanyl, reaching over 2,000 people. This year also marked the return of our Citizens Academy program. The office hosted six sessions that were attended by 98 community members from all over the valley. Our employees also gave back to the community. Over 100 employees volunteered at 8 outreach events and raised over $28,000 for local non-profits as part of the office’s Casual Day Campaign.
It’s been a busy year at 225 West Madison! We thank you for your support and we look forward to another year of supporting communities and keeping families safe.