Lake County commissioners present extra sources to prosecutor’s workplace – Information-Herald
The Lake County commissioners recently approved a request for additional prosecutors and staff for the Lake County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, which represents an additional investment of approximately $250,000 per budget year.
The request was submitted during the 2022 budget hearings conducted in February, where County Prosecutor Charles Coulson requested two additional assistant prosecutors, one legal secretary and one victim advocate.
“I appreciate the difficult job the commissioners have in administering a fair and sustainable budget for the entire county during these unprecedented times,” Coulson said, noting the increased funding reflects the board’s commitment to law enforcement and public safety.
Coulson added that the prosecutor’s office is experiencing its highest caseload ever. Moreover, he explained, that due to sustained upsurges in technology and new multiple sources of evidence, the complexity and the difficulty in prosecuting each case has, in turn, increased.
“And, most unfortunately, there has been a significant increase in criminal violence and the use of firearms,” he said. “Commissioner John Plecnik has been an advocate and supporter of my office, and instrumental in recognizing our budgetary needs. I also want to acknowledge appreciation for Commissioner (John) Hamercheck and Commissioner (Ron) Young for this unanimous support of my office.”
The prosecutor’s office is a full-service law firm representing all of the Lake County’s boards and offices, other various political subdivisions, and the state.
The office is made up of multiple divisions, including criminal and civil services, child support, and juvenile services.
Coulson also administers a victim assistance program and manages the Lake County Crime Laboratory.
“I take the county budgeting process seriously and appreciate Prosecutor Coulson notifying the board of his staffing situation,” Hamercheck said. “Appropriation increases, while often difficult, are decisions that require strong leadership choices and (this is) one that I support in our commitment to provide a safe county.”
Plecnik echoed his colleague.
“As a law professor, l am grateful to Prosecutor Coulson and his dedicated staff for their daily pursuit of justice,” Plecnik added. “From the legal support staff, victim advocates, and attorneys practicing law in our courts, it is essential that the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office possess the necessary resources to effectively represent our county in civil and criminal proceedings.”
The board reduced the County’s General Fund budget by nearly 10 percent in June 2020 due to the fiscal uncertainties presented by the pandemic.
The prosecutor’s office was included in the reduction, and the budget increase reflects the need to reinvest in the office, officials noted.