LAWRENCE CO. – Lawrence County Prosecutor Samuel Arp III provided the Lawrence County Council an update on his office Tuesday evening.
Prosecutor Arp reported that his office has been healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic thus far with only one person contracting the virus.
The prosecutor’s office has been working to keep the jail population down, there was a slight increase one week and his department was able to get the population reduced that same week. The public defender’s office had about three attorneys out due to illness and that has deterred a few court procedures.
“On Friday’s we have an open-door policy in the conference room where there is a case that can be negotiated to get an inmate out of the jail, it takes the structure out of the court process. We are able to get inmates out of jail to help to keep the population at the jail under control,” Arp continued.
Arp says this process takes a lot of time that officials do not have, but it has its benefits in addressing the concerns at the jail.
“I want to compliment Bruce Andis on his new hires, the two are taking the ball and running,” said Arp.
The Lawrence County Prosecutor’s office has started a new program for families in Lawrence County. The office is no longer taking children’s fingerprints in case of abduction but has DNA kits available to create a DNA profile for a child. The Prosecutor’s Office had a booth at the county fair and 2,500 kits were handed out. The office will also be offering the kits at their booth during the Persimmon Festival this year. The lab conducting the testing for the Prosecutor’s Office donated 5,000 DNA kits for this program.
The Prosecutor’s Office received a $4,300 grant from the Lawrence County Community Foundation for domestic violence. This will allow the Prosecutor’s Office to focus on some of the needs of the victim, including job training which will help them exit their current life situation.
Victims are provided a bag with a change of clothes, gift cards for food for a couple of days, teddy bears for children, and funds for a hotel room for a couple of days. In addition, the Prosecutor’s office works with a couple of local providers to provide counseling sessions. As the program continues to evolve the Prosecutor’s Office will provide training to local law enforcement officers to focus on the new program.
At this time the deputy prosecutor has a caseload of between 600 to 750 cases last year and Prosecutor Arp oversaw 990 cases. /Arp’s caseload was reduced this year with him taking on more administrative roles.
The Lawrence County Council approved the matching funds for a grant from the 2020 budget year in the amount of $18,752 to pay for a deputy prosecutor. The total grant sum equated to $56,000.