Monday, November 30, 2009

The Experience: Platte County Attorney

By John Miller

The experience of a Platte County Attorney is inclusive of law enforcement, as the role includes the prosecuting of criminal cases. The Attorney is an elected official of a four-year term in office. This role is an extremely busy one and anyone who runs for this office, or elected will definitely benefit from having an energetic demeanor.

The many criminal cases awaiting prosecution by this office are timely in completion, and are only a drop in the bucket in realizing the workload that this office has. Crimes committed can be slight or severe. With like punishment administered. There are infraction crimes with warnings issued, to misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors can be cleared from a record, whereas for felonies removal may be either impossible or a long drawn out process.

Duties handled by the County Attorney are many. From serving as the County Coroner, in evaluating suspicious and wrongful deaths, to following up on the continued writing of checks when an account owner is aware that there are insufficient funds available for payment, but continues to write checks anyway.

There are so many functions that this office handles such as Juvenile Courts, Detention, child endangerment, criminal investigations, issuing of warrants, and subsequent arrests, the enforcement of property taxes, and child support cases. This is only the tip of the iceberg of the responsibilities of the County Attorney's office.

A main function of the County Attorney is investigation. The office has a huge paper trail in relation to criminal trials and convictions, and various other administrative duties linked to additional departments. A wealth of knowledge is contained within the walls of this office.

It is understandable that it has both prosecuting and defense attorneys at its disposal in trying criminal cases. A drawback is that most alleged suspects of a crime are indigent or unable to pay a private attorney to defend them, and must rely on a court appointed attorney. They do not trust having an attorney from the prosecutor's office defending them.

Other functions of the office oversee the maintenance of the Highway patrol, Motor Vehicle department, and election of the Commissioner to office. As well as watching over Veteran Affairs, the facilitation of Detentions, General and Victims assistance, and the Probation office. They also manage city emergency criteria.

Besides the County Attorney, the other positions that staff this office are the Chief Deputy and his deputies, and the child support department is there as well as the department that handles the writing of bad checks. There are two positions for office manager, and one office clerk.

The workload in attribution to staffing seems to be more than the staff can handle, yet, thanks to great organizing all the work is processed efficiently. The departments works well together in a team environment as they conduct business in a methodical and thorough manner.

It is apparent that government offices have a lot of red tape, and therefore have a slower administrative turnaround time, and the County Attorney's office is no different in that aspect. It is understandable with so many rules and regulations to follow and endorse while keeping everyone and everything in perspective.

The experience of a Platte County Attorney is admirable, in keeping the organization running smoothly. The functions of the many departments require strong leadership in maintaining a dignified and humanitarian aspect for all involved, in light of the expectations of those who have elected the individual into office.

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