For most people who live or work in Tacoma, the city of Fife is fondly known as our neighbor to the north. We feel the same here in the Prosecutor’s Office, but we also see the city as our partner.
With that in mind, Prosecutor Mark Lindquist went before the Fife City Council at its regularly scheduled meeting to continue to spread the word about what we are doing to keep the public safe.
Fife Councilmember Tim Curtis praised the office’s efforts during the recent council meeting.
“I’m proud of what you and what your office is doing,” Curtis said. “What sets you apart is that you’re proactive.”
Prosecutor Lindquist began by describing the new High Priority Offender (HPO) program, which “focuses resources on the small percentage of the criminals who cause a large percentage of crimes.”
Created by Lindquist in 2015 after several months of preparation, the HPO program uses technology, data and intel to identify these “career criminals.”
Modeled after a successful program in New York City and adapted for Pierce County, Lindquist is confident the program will work here as it has in cities on the East Coast.
Our office is the first on the West Coast to implement this program. So far, more than 500 HPO defendants have been convicted and are serving long sentences in prison, nearly four times the average state sentence.
“We aim to end their criminal careers,” Lindquist said.
Also, Lindquist spoke with council members about the office’s Elder Abuse Unit. He began the unit in 2011 during his first term to both vigorously prosecute elder abuse and work with partners to prevent these crimes against vulnerable adults. The team has expanded to meet a growing need in the community.
“Our population is aging,”Lindquist said. “And protecting the vulnerable is one of our top priorities.”
Pierce County was recently awarded $370,985 from the Department of Justice to support a comprehensive approach to addressing elder abuse, one of only nine counties in the country to receive the award. The Prosecutor’s Office 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.
The grant funds a coordinated community response team comprised of experts from a variety of disciplines who are working together to develop a comprehensive plan to respond to and reduce elder abuse in Pierce County.
“I was reading about elder abuse. I think what you’re doing is great,” said Councilmember Dee Dee Gethers. “Kudos to you!”
Lindquist wrapped up by discussing his successful fight for “fair share.” The Prosecutor’s Office vigilantly monitors the Department of Corrections and the Department of Social and Health Services to ensure that Pierce County isn’t a “dumping ground” for offenders from other counties.
Lindquist’s presentation was part of his commitment to communicating with the public he serves. He is touring the county speaking with city councils, service groups, and other community groups as well as local leaders. He and members of his team are available for presentations to raise awareness on public safety issues.