MIDDLEBORO – Do you know what a district attorney does?
Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz asked the question of an audience of more than 125 local residents gathered in the community center at Oak Point on Saturday morning, then spent an hour giving them the answer in an informative, entertaining way.
The county’s DA was there to provide a talk on cyber security, personal safety, and a variety of personal safety and security issues of special interest to seniors at the lecture, hosted by the Oak Point Women’s Club. Several dozen members of the community at large joined the club members for the scheduled appearance.
“My job, as the chief law enforcement officer in the county, is to keep people safe,” Cruz said at the start of his job description. Obviously, the greatest portion of the resources district attorney’s office are directed to prosecuting criminals and getting them sent to jail.
“Our office handles 17,000 to 18,000 cases a year... everything from trespassing to homicide,” the 17-year veteran of the top prosecutor’s job in the county said. “We have approximately 60 attorneys working here” to convict criminals and protect citizens, Cruz noted.
Considerable resources these days are also devoted to educating county residents about consumer scams, identity theft, senior law, and the opioid epidemic – to help prevent them from getting involved with those criminals who commonly prey on seniors, he said.
Among the bureaus in his office is a special Senior Protection Unit focusing on elder issues; they produced several of the informational brochures on consumer safety and identity theft contained in a handout package provided to all attendees of the lecture.
Statistics for nearly every category of crime are down county-wide, except for identity theft and drug-related offenses. Of course, “fighting drug trafficking is such a big effort for us today,” because of the problems caused by the continuing opioid epidemic, Cruz said of his prosecuting team.
To help the fight against opioids, his office makes it a priority to “go after the dealers and the drug traffickers” and seek the longest possible prison sentences for them. On the consumer side, education efforts, use of the overdose reversing drug Narcan, and follow-up visits to overdose victims to offer help are turning the tide, Cruz suggested.