The program includes an emphasis on crime prevention and intervention in specific geographic areas plagued by crime. The first area in the program is the Frayser-Raleigh-Millington area where Asst. Dist. Atty. Carrie Shelton has been assigned to the Old Allen Precinct in Shelby County District 7.
“By putting people out in the community, we hope to build stronger cases for prosecution, but if we can keep some of these 17 and 18 year olds out of the criminal justice system to begin with we’ll be moving the needle in the right direction,” Gen. Weirich said at a pastors’ luncheon Wednesday at Crosspointe Baptist Church in Millington. “Mentoring and job skills are very important things churches might be able to do.”
Shelton said her new assignment calls for her to become familiar with the offenders, the community leaders and the citizens of the first Community Prosecution area known as OA7-CPU. “My days don’t even resemble the ones I had at 201 Poplar,” she said. “I’m talking to officers, taking calls from citizens, driving the area and attending meetings. We’re trying to facilitate a change, and pastoral care is really important. Law enforcement can’t do it all. Too many people think we can solve a crime in 30 minutes with commercial breaks.”
Asst. Dist. Atty. Neal Oldham heads the OA7-CPU team at 201 Poplar where all cases from the pilot program area are handled in two pre-assigned courts. “We’re never going to arrest our way out of crime,” he said. “We’re going to rely on relationships and that’s what Community Prosecution is all about. We’re taking a huge county and making it into a small town. This is an interesting and unique opportunity, and we need the moral voice of our faith-based partners.”
A second phase of the Community Prosecution plan is being developed at the MPD Tillman Station Precinct where Asst. Dist. Atty. Greg Gilbert has been assigned as the community prosecutor.
Gen. Weirich said the Community Prosecution plan recognizes that geography is a major factor in the dynamics of a criminal case.