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Cole County prosecutor needs assistance

Over the years, the number of cases the Cole County Prosecuting Attorney has brought to court has drastically increased, which is why there is a need for a new assistant.

Right now there are five criminal assistant prosecuting attorneys, as well two more that focus just on child cases.

Prosecutor Mark Richardson said law enforcement and private citizens and shop owners have been able to catch more crime with new technology like updated HD security systems that often catch everything from stealing, to forged checks.

“[There are] new investigative procedures for the police, more investments, more private citizens having security systems in their businesses. As you often see on tv sometimes, in some of the store robberies, videos that are now quite clear of the perpetrators of crime as well as video clips of people presenting forged checks, fraud-type cases,” said Richardson.

Richardson said, “The catch rate, or solvability rate has increased in certain areas of crime quite a bit from what it was years ago and so perhaps the reported crime rate may not have increased that much but the criminals that police have apprehended for those crimes seems to have gone up.”

In 2005, the prosecutor’s office worked 378 criminal felony cases. In 2012, that increased to 602. That’s not including the number of misdemeanors, traffic tickets, or ordinance cases.

That’s why he said an extra attorney to help with those cases is really needed.

“I’m hopeful the commissioners will give that serious consideration because that is an important position I think to continue to serve those citizens who are law abiding citizens. We deserve to give them the very best we can give and I hope that by adding another assistant prosecutor, we’ll be able to give the citizens better service,” said Richardson.

Richardson also said over the last 30 years or so, only four judges have served at a time in Cole County and that the number should also increase with the number of cases tried.

In 2013, 788 associate felony cases were filed in Cole County,and 548 of those became larger felony cases that went to trial.

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