End of year review.
It is customary for me, John Tyrrell Wright County Prosecutor, to do an end of year review of the office. However, as we all know, 2020 presented unique challenges and obstacles that impacted administering justice for the citizens of Wright County.
First, 2020 marked the first year that the Prosecutor’s Office used a paperless system. This was a goal established in 2019. A paperless system essentially means that we are utilizing the case management system endorsed by the Missouri Prosecutor’s Association. This has eliminated the need for paper files. All reports, photos, statements, and other case information is stored digitally. This will result in long term savings to the County. It will reduce the burden to the County for space for file retention and expense in file creation. When COVID arrived, a paperless system became all that more important. The system that we have established allows me to preform my job tasks anywhere I can log onto the internet. This has also allowed the office staff to work from home when necessary. I want to thank the Commission for sharing my vision and allowing me to purchase the necessary equipment to implement the system.
Second, COVID brought challenges never experienced by the justice system. Courts were still conducting business, but in extremely limited situations. Jury trials had to be moved off site to accommodate social distancing, and routine court was conducted by video at times. We were still able to conduct business and serve the citizens of Wright County. The Circuit Clerk, Lori Jones, her staff, and Judges deserve credit in finding ways to conduct court in a safe manner.
Third, we filed 2,456 cases with court, which consisted of 797 criminal cases and 1,659 traffic cases. The number of criminal cases referred to the office for a charging decision was 778 for 2020.
Fourth, we collected restitution payments that totaled $77,159. Even with all that was occurring, we were still able to collect restitution for citizens affected by crime.
Fifth, 2020 was the first year that the office had a full-time victim advocate. This is a welcomed change. It allowed us to address victim issues more quickly and efficiently. The victim advocate reports that she had contact with 312 individual victims. We still work with victims, regardless of if a case was able to be filed or not. Domestic violence victims made up 25% of the total victims contacted by the office and 18% consisted of child victims.
Sixth, child support enforcement continued during the pandemic. As we all know, COVID caused issues with the job market and economy. However, child support enforcement was still able to collect child support payments of over approximately $170,000.
I want to thank the citizens of Wright for the opportunity to serve. I want to thank law enforcement for their dedication and professionalism. Finally, I want to thank Kristi, Erin, Sabrina, and Brenda, employees of the Prosecutor’s Office, for their efforts in keeping the office functioning and seeking justice.