Prosecutor and Judicial Support
ith all of the enforcement efforts, it should not be forgotten that the chief law enforcement officer in most jurisdictions is the local prosecutor. With this in mind, it is imperative that the attorney general, or the State equivalent, should be a party to any statewide enforcement effort. This will ensure that many of the law enforcement plans are consistent with current laws and regulations regarding traffic enforcement. The local prosecutor should be made aware of all law enforcement plans to ensure consistency with Federal, State, and local laws and regulations. This facilitates a better working relationship with the prosecutors and negates potential problems in the prosecution of impaired-driving cases.
The involvement of prosecutors in comprehensive planning, training, and marketing ensures increased success when the cases are brought to trial and reduces the potential for dismissal of cases based on procedural errors, training, and jurisdictional issues. It also promotes and fosters teamwork with the criminal justice system, thereby reducing the "us versus them" mentality between law enforcement officers and prosecutors. Further, by involving prosecutors (and the defense bar) in the training of law enforcement officers will result in enhancements in submission of unobjectionable evidence to the court. Chief prosecutors can also be useful in the marketing of a deterrence strategy, as they are elected officials and may wish to publicly emphasize public safety.
The SHSOs should be cognizant of training needs for prosecutors in the area of traffic enforcement, especially in the area of impaired driving. Due to the high turnover rate within many prosecutor offices, this training should be conducted as frequently as possible and efforts should be made to ensure continuity of specialized prosecution skills and techniques. Additional resources such as Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutors (TSRPs) who are experienced prosecutors within a State provide the specialized expertise needed for local prosecutors and have access to national resources. For more information see www.napcsite.org or www.ndaa-apri.org.
From a judicial perspective, the judges and court administrators should be notified of mobilization and crackdowns, so they are aware of any potential docketing issues. In addition, the judiciary must be prepared to act on all cases brought before it and in most cases it will be the specialized courts that hear the traffic cases.
All SHSOs should be aware of the judicial education opportunities that are available to the judiciary and be prepared to provide the means to accomplish the agency's goals in saving lives and preventing injuries. Additional information may be obtained from www.judges.org or www.ncsconline.org.