New Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson is pursuing satellite offices where felony prosecutors could work more closely with residents and city of Dallas community prosecutors.
In one of her first sit down interviews since being sworn in last week, Johnson told NBC 5 Tuesday she has been talking with the Dallas City Attorney about sharing office space with assistant city attorneys.
“I want to be able to make sure that those victims know they can come to us and we’re right there in the community,” Johnson said. “I want to make this office accessible to people.”
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City of Dallas community prosecutors focus on misdemeanor cases and code enforcement.
Jason Mathis, Deputy Chief of Community Prosecution, said the satellite offices give them an advantage.
“Three objectives are, decrease crime, decrease blight and strengthen the community and so being in the community gives us a big head start of doing those three things,” Mathis said. “It allows development to occur and people to be proud and happy about their community, their neighborhood.”
Mathis said City Attorney Larry Casto is working with Johnson to support the new partnership with Dallas County felony prosecutors at city locations.
Myra Jones, who runs a youth outreach program called Love Ministries, welcomed the district attorney’s additional community outreach.
“If we can get people on the right track, then of course they don’t go the wrong way,” Jones said. “Working with them, alongside them, helps them become the productive citizens that we are aiming for.”
Johnson said felony prosecutors in neighborhoods could be role models and provide positive contact with the criminal justice system.
But primarily, she hopes the program will help crime victims.
“We are going to come where you are. That’s how special you are. That’s how much you mean to us. So, that’s what I’m trying to do with these satellites,” Johnson said.
Dallas reported a 2016 surge in violent crime.
"Everyone wants us to get a handle on this," Johnson said. "We are here representing everybody. We want to make sure that everybody gets justice, everybody gets fairness in this office."
Former Republican Judge Faith Johnson was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to complete the unexpired term of former DA Susan Hawk who resigned last year after extended absences for mental health care.
Johnson said she intends to run for election to the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office in two years.