|For Immediate Release
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY TRIAL ATTORNEY PARTNERSHIP TO RECEIVE “CALIFORNIA COUNTIES INNOVATION AWARD” RECOGNIZING INNOVATIVE COUNTY SERVICE
PROGRAMS IN CALIFORNIA
SANTA ANA – The California State Association of Counties (CSAC) will be honoring the Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Trial Attorney Partnership (TAP) Program with the “California Counties Innovation Award”. The “California Counties Innovation Award” will be presented by Paul McIntosh, CSAC Executive Director, on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010, at the Orange County Board of Supervisors meeting. The meeting will be held at 9:30am at the Hall of Administration, located at 333 West Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana. Several former TAP prosecutors will be present to share the honor.
“I started the OCDA TAP program in 2003 to meet the challenge of budget cuts and increased caseloads,” stated District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “In addition, our TAP attorneys have reduced burdens on taxpayers, expedited justice for victims, and made Orange County a safer place to live.”
TAP is a public-private partnership that recruits attorneys from local civil law firms to work full-time as temporary deputy district attorneys for eight weeks. To date, 85 TAP attorneys have conducted 164 jury trials, 31 court trials, 739 preliminary hearings, and 350 motions. Their work provided $2.6 million worth of services to Orange County taxpayers.
The “California Counties Innovation Award” is CSAC’s highest award given annually to county programs that demonstrate innovation and unique vision in areas ranging from social services to law enforcement. CSAC considered nearly 250 agencies for this award and only awarded two statewide. An independent panel of distinguished judges with expertise in county programs and challenges evaluated entrants on their demonstration of leadership, innovation, collaboration, creativity, resourcefulness, and effectiveness to be used as a model for other counties. CSAC emphasized the importance of the “California Counties Innovation Award” in the face of the economic hardship and dwindling resources that continue to effect the state.
District Attorney Tony Rackauckas will also receive the “Challenge Merit Award” for the Orange County Gang Reduction, Intervention, Prevention (GRIP) Program on behalf of the office. The OCDA and Anaheim Police Department formed GRIP to combat the increasing number of minors involved in gangs in Orange County. GRIP focuses on working with children deemed at-risk to deter gang membership and crime by educating faculty, parents, and students at elementary and middle schools in neighborhoods with a high volume of gang and/or criminal activity. The program saw a drop in unexcused absences and increased attendance at participating schools from December of 2008 to April of 2009. The program has been recognized for its innovative and cost-effective approach to gang prevention in Orange County.