10.25.2010

TS My Word - Gallegos - Our goal: Improving public safety and making Humboldt County a healthy place to live, raise our families and do business

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Paul Gallegos/For the Times-Standard
Posted: 10/24/2010 01:23:20 AM PDT

My office knows that we are the face of government that much of the public sees. Faith in a system of just laws and fairness requires us to conduct ourselves in an ethical manner. We cannot play favorites or pre-judge outcomes. Our role is to seek the truth so that justice is served. Our deputies have earned the respect of the legal community and judges because we uphold those values in every aspect of the work.

In my execution of the office, I have demanded of staff to be fair and to treat all people equally with the dignity due a free people. For, in the end, we cannot have justice if we allow vengeance to pollute our judicial system. We depend on the certainty of the law to protect our rights, our security and our sense of fairness. Without that, we will be subject to whims of individuals who wield power beyond their rights as citizens in a free republic.

As your district attorney, I have pledged to do everything in my power to ensure that the enforcement of our laws is guided by one principle: that we are all equal. This is the essential value embodied in our Constitution. Our safety, both as individuals and as a vibrant society, depends upon upholding that value, despite the misguided public discourse that would encourage you to approach the world with fear.

I take pride in the office I have led these past eight years. Of the staff I inherited from Terry Farmer, four continue today, two were fired, and the remaining left of their own accord.

The deputy district attorney's job is demanding, stressful and not well compensated. But our deputies perform remarkably well by cooperating with each other, sharing tasks and being aware of each other's work so that they can help one another as needed. Their day begins before 8 a.m. and does not end until well after 5 p.m. Often they take their work home, preparing for the next day's appearance in court.

The office continues to thrive even though the budget has been cut, there is less staff, and we have increased the amount of filings. If we are presented with facts from a law enforcement agency that a crime has been committed, and it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, then it will be filed.

We never decline a case based on a lack of resources. This kind of dedication to public service has been successful in bringing the worst violators to justice, whether they be perpetrators of violence, sexual molestation, or predators of the vulnerable among us, or corporate polluters of our environment.

We have received awards for our investigative team, our Child Abuse Services, our Domestic Violence unit, including a recent unanimous proclamation of appreciation from the Board of Supervisors, and for our work with the tribes. Our conviction rates and commitment of violent offenders to prison are as high as ever on a budget that is the lowest in a decade.

The future looks good, too. I am creating a special team to specifically tackle cold cases, based on the methods honed by our stellar investigative unit to crack cold cases, like the Huntzinger disappearance. We will also continue to raise funds and equip county law enforcement with audio and video recorders. This will help gather the hard evidence needed for successful prosecution, and provide everyone involved in an incident with a single confirmable account of events.

And, as crime has changed with the changes in our society and technology, our cyber unit will also be working more closely with prosecutors and investigators. In addition, we are going to develop our ability to present evidence electronically in court, so that the judge and jury will be able to follow the facts more easily and come to a just conclusion. We showcased it in the skilled nursing case, which helped the jury to see actual documents and read appropriate passages and facts within them. We use state of the art technology to bring perpetrators to justice and will continue to develop our abilities in that arena.

All of our work is aimed at one goal: improving public safety and making Humboldt County a healthy place to live, raise our families and do business. Please join me in that effort by re-electing me as your district attorney.

Paul Gallegos is the district attorney of Humboldt County. He is up for re-election on the November ballot.
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Interesting the way he tries to say he doesn't want to go back to the days of Terry Farmer, but he tries to take credit for the programs that were created under Farmer. Years before Gallegos ever considered running for a better paycheck.