The last four years have been a tumultuous time in the UCDA’s Office. There is no question significant change is needed. When elected, I will:
1. Bring back seasoned and dedicated prosecutors who left under the current administration and have approached me about returning. They will be able to successfully prosecute the most dangerous offenders, while training the less experienced, but very talented new ADAs who are currently working in the DA’s Office.
2. Establish an actual Restorative Justice Program which is currently non-existent. I will work with Judge Bryan Rounds to bring Restorative Justice to County Court, while utilizing the Restorative Justice program that is already in place, but under-utilized.
3. Create specific and clear protocols to ensure that every member of the DA’s Office understands what their roles are and what is expected of them. This will include strict discovery oversight and compliance, felony case review, case management and tracking, and a leadership committee that will report directly to me.
4. Restore relationships with local police agencies.
5. Partner with law enforcement to develop a Community Policing program. For communities to be safer, I believe that the relationship between law enforcement and citizens needs to be strong. They should be partnering to combat criminal activity, and to do that there needs to be trust. I believe Community Policing is a strong and effective way to build that trust which will result in safer neighborhoods.
6. Establish an Immigrant Affairs Bureau that will serve as an outreach program to our immigrant community designed to inform them that if they are victimized by criminal activity, they can report the crime without fear of consequences to their immigration status.
7. Develop a community outreach program by sponsoring meetings with local leadership to discuss the criminal justice issues that affect their specific communities and collaborate to find solutions.
8. Advocate for a Mental Health Court in Ulster County. The criminal justice system is currently ill-equipped to deal with offenders who suffer from mental health issues. Other jurisdictions have established Mental Health Courts and I believe, if properly implemented, they would be invaluable to Ulster County.
9. Prioritize a concerted and coordinated effort to combat the opioid epidemic by partnering with our government agencies, rehabilitation community, and law enforcement. This is a problem that cannot be fixed without multi-agency collaboration designed to effectively educate, empower, protect, and heal. The DA’s Office must distinguish between drug dealers who are preying on the vulnerable and those who commit non-violent offenses to support their addiction. The former must be prosecuted vigorously and the latter must be provided with treatment and empowered with the ability to regain their lives.
10. Protect our elderly population by partnering with local agencies to educate our seniors about scams and ways to protect themselves from those who would target them. This would be accomplished by once again assigning experienced ADAs to serve on committees dedicated to this purpose, a practice that has been abandoned for the last four years.
11. Create a District Attorney’s Office that Ulster County can be proud of.
– Mike Kavanagh, Independent Candidate for Ulster County District Attorney