Preventing crime? U.S. attorney not just prosecutin'
Apparently there's a lot of money in federal grants for crime prevention floating out there, and U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy's boss thinks it makes more sense to prevent crimes rather than just prosecute them. That's why Heaphy has a new hire to help funnel federal grants into organizations that keep people out of the courtroom and the jails.
"Federal prosecutors should be community problem solvers, not just case processors," said Heaphy in a July 23 press conference, repeating the instructions of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder from a recent meeting in New Orleans.
And with Holder's backing, Heaphy has hired former Roanoke city councilor Gwen Mason to be the community outreach coordinator for the massive western district of Virginia in what Heaphy calls a "trail-blazing" program.
Mason's job is to tap into federal grants to stop the big three of drugs, gangs and guns. "I can see her in the coalfields–- in a community struggling with methamphetamine addiction," says Heaphy.
Heaphy acknowledges that Charlottesville has a wealth of groups dedicated to crime prevention.
"Redundancy is a problem here," he says. "It's not in other areas."