MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County’s District Attorney is working on keeping one of his top campaign promises; fostering better relationships with law enforcement.
In an interview about his first month in office, District Attorney Jason Schmidt says he and his staff is working to build a rapport with the various law enforcement agencies in Chautauqua County.
“We’ve been meeting with various police agencies,” Schmidt said. “We’ve met with City of Dunkirk, we’re meeting with the Sheriff’s Department, we’ve met with New York State Police Bureau of Investigation to go over all pending investigations in which we can contribute and eventually pick up the case for prosecution purposes.”
Schmidt says that he also anticipated meeting with Jamestown Police and other law enforcement agencies locally.
The County’s top prosecutor, additionally, explains that he has discussed the idea of placing prosecutors in each law enforcement department in an effort to “work hand-in-hand with the police on a full-time basis.”
“That’s something I’m hoping we can implement in the next month or two.”
Schmidt says his office has also spent a lot of time with police agencies because they’ve asked for advice on various pending cases that they’re investigating. He says this leads to a major feat that he hopes his office can accomplish throughout the year.
“One of my biggest goals in 2021 is to put us in a position where we can take cases and not just take them to trial, but to secure convictions,” Schmidt said. “Where we can work hand-in-hand with the police at the very earliest stages of the cases during the investigations, and where we can just work collectively and create a different type of law enforcement partnership between police and prosecutors than the county has seen in the past.”
Schmidt says his office is also changing the ways in which they determine who will handle what case.
“We are revamping the case assignment system here in the office, developing some felony trial teams so we can work collectively on the prosecution of cases,” Schmidt said. “We’ve taken every single felony file in the office, and we’ve put them in the conference room. And it’s become somewhat of a war room for us, where we’re reviewing each and every file, developing a new assignment system based on subject matter and reviewing those cases as a group collectively and working on the cases from a team-approach standpoint.”
Schmidt says his office is in “good shape” regarding personnel as long as the resources are used efficiently.