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- As public safety and the courts are our most significant general fund expenditure, we should do everything possible to monitor the collaborative work done by our Police Department, Sheriff’s Department, prosecutors, courts, and associated supports. This should include not only the stronger information management systems implemented in recent years, but careful tracking of trends to ensure funds are being directed to the most successful efforts. We should join other successful communities that do this through a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
- In keeping with our contemporary understanding of substance abuse as a health issue, we should continue to move those with substance abuse offenses toward treatment. This should include the option of simple fines accompanied by an addictions screening for low-level drug possession.
- Athens has spent over 20 years moving deeper into Community Oriented Policing, in which police seek to engage warmly with all members of the Athens area. This trend should continue, and should include direct engagement with residents of every age and status.
- Our Diversion Center should continue to receive support, including therapeutic resources and development of employment skills, to continue to lower the recidivism rate at our jail. Similarly, our Misdemeanor Probation Department should be supported with flexibility around the varied needs of probationers, so that we allow them to tailor their work to the specific needs of individuals.