In a way, visiting Eatonville will always be like returning home for Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
Lindquist spent his early days as a deputy prosecutor in the Eatonville area and feels a strong connection to the community. Upon arrival at the town hall, the career prosecutor was greeted by old friends.
When Tuesday’s council meeting began, Lindquist gave a public safety update to members and attendees.
“Keeping our community safe is not our only duty in the Prosecutor’s Office,” he said. “But it is our main duty.”
Lindquist began by describing the new High Priority Offender (HPO) program, which focuses resources on the small percentage of the criminals who cause a large percentage of crimes.
Created by Lindquist in 2015 after several months of preparation, the HPO program uses technology, data and intel to identify these "career criminals.”
Modeled after a successful program in New York City and adapted for Pierce County, Lindquist is confident the program will work here as it has in cities on the East Coast. His office is the first on the West Coast to implement this program. So far, more than 500 HPO defendants have been convicted and are serving long sentences in prison, nearly four times the average state sentence.
“When we remove career criminals from our streets, we prevent hundreds of future crimes,” the prosecutor said.
Also, Lindquist spoke with councilmembers about the office’s Elder Abuse Unit. He began the unit in 2011 during his first term to both vigorously prosecute elder abuse and work with partners to prevent elder abuse. The team has expanded to meet a growing need in the community.
"Our population is aging," Lindquist said. "And protecting the vulnerable is one of our top priorities.”
Pierce County was recently awarded $370,985 from the Department of Justice to support a comprehensive approach to addressing elder abuse, one of only nine counties in the country to receive the award. The Prosecutor’s Office is teaming up with local law enforcement agencies and victim service organizations to increase and strengthen training, form a community response team, and improve access to victim services.
The grant funds a coordinated community response team comprised of experts from a variety of disciplines who are working together to develop a comprehensive plan to respond to and reduce elder abuse in Pierce County.
“We are a leader in both the prosecution and prevention of elder abuse,” Lindquist said.
Lindquist wrapped up by discussing his successful fight for “fair share.” The Prosecutor’s Office vigilantly monitors the Department of Corrections and the Department of Social and Health Services to ensure that Pierce County isn’t a “dumping ground” for offenders from other counties.
Lindquist's presentation was part of his commitment to communicating with the public he serves. He is touring the county speaking with city councils, service groups, and other community groups as well as local leaders. He and members of his team are available for presentations to raise awareness on public safety issues.
Lindquist began his career as a deputy prosecutor in 1995. He was appointed Prosecutor in 2009, elected in 2010, and reelected in 2014.
For help scheduling a presentation, contact Communications Manager James Lynch, 253.798.6265, [email protected].