Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist gave a public safety update to council members at the regularly scheduled University Place City Council meeting.
“We’re very happy with the work you do, Mark,” said University Place Mayor Javier Figueroa. “We’re happy with how it impacts all of our communities, but especially how it impacts the people of University Place.”
First, Lindquist spoke with councilmembers about the office’s Elder Abuse Unit. Started by Lindquist in 2011, the Elder Abuse team holds offenders accountable and assists the community in preventing elder abuse crimes.
“We are committed to protecting the vulnerable,” said Lindquist. “Our office protects elders through vigorous prosecution and through education so people can better protect themselves, their families, and their friends.”
Because of its leadership in the field of Elder Abuse, Pierce County was awarded $370,985 from the Department of Justice to support a comprehensive approach to addressing elder abuse. The Prosecutor’s Office, which secured one of only nine nationwide grants, is teaming up with local law enforcement agencies and victim service organizations to increase and strengthen training, form a community response team and improve access to victim services.
Second, Lindquist discussed the High Priority Offender Program (HPO), a modern data-driven approach to prosecution.
“Our goal with the High Priority Offender Program is to make our community safer by focusing resources on the small percentage of offenders who are committing a large percentage of the crimes,” said Lindquist.
The Prosecutor’s Office adapted successful data-driven prosecution programs from the East Coast, which use data, technology, and intelligence to identify career criminals and other high-impact offenders. Pierce County is the first county on the West Coast to implement a High Priority Offender Program.
Lindquist also talked about his successful efforts to stop the Department of Corrections (DOC) from dumping offenders from other counties into Pierce County. Historically, many offenders who committed crimes in other counties were released into Pierce County, driving up the local crime rate when they reoffended. Lindquist announced that he had an agreement with the DOC to close the Rap Lincoln Work Release facility in Tacoma, which was a major contributor to the problem. He characterized this as “a victory for public safety in Pierce County,” and vowed to continue the fight to reduce crime in Pierce County by all means available.
“Crime is down, property values are up,” Lindquist said. “Pierce County is booming.”
Finally, Lindquist closed by thanking University Place Chief Mike Blair for the successful collaboration and communication between his department and the Prosecutor’s Office.