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July 2017
Volume 2, Issue 7
Dear Friends:

I am committed to working with other agencies to see if we can do a better job of protecting our children in this county from abuse and neglect.

Read the full remarks here.

Spotlight: ESCARS Unit

The ESCARS Unit was created by District Attorney Jackie Lacey as part of her ongoing effort to enhance the protection of children from abuse and neglect.

The unit, which is comprised of a deputy district attorney and four paralegals, got its name from the countywide Electronic Suspected Child Abuse Report System. The unit reviews the sharing of suspected child abuse reports among agencies responsible for protecting children – an important task delegated to the District Attorney’s Office under state law.

These reports aid social workers and law enforcement officers when they respond to allegations of child abuse. If a family has a history of suspected child abuse reports, that information should be in the system and immediately available to the officers or social workers at the scene.

The ESCARS Unit ensures these reports do not slip through the cracks and are followed up properly.

In one of the system’s most noted cases, an officer responding to a suspected child abuse report learned of the existence of a second child at the home while reviewing an earlier report. Armed with that critical information, the officer was able to rebut the mother’s insistence that she had just one child, track down the abused child in another county and get him to safety.
 
The electronic system began operating in 2009 as a faster and more efficient method of sharing child abuse allegations throughout Los Angeles County.

ESCARS operates around the clock. When a report of suspected child abuse is received, an electronic report is entered online and sent simultaneously to appropriate law enforcement agencies, social workers and the District Attorney’s Office.
 
The District Attorney’s Office helped lead the way in implementing the first-of-its-kind electronic system, which collects about 60,000 reports annually.
 
District Attorney Lacey created the ESCARS Unit last year to increase auditing of suspected child abuse reports. With the additional personnel, audits of reports increased from 12 percent in 2014 – before the unit was created – to 60 percent at the start of 2017.  
 
“ESCARS is a great system,” District Attorney Lacey said. “But for the system to work to its full potential, we all have to do our part. The ESCARS Unit works to make sure that children are being protected.”
 
The ESCARS Unit has been part of a larger effort to fine-tune the online portal used for entering abuse reports. That new website will be unveiled later this year.

Fraud Alert
    Significant Cases
The image of a sad puppy in a cage at a shelter will inspire many animal lovers to donate money to rescue organizations but scammers may be preying on their compassion.

Read the Fraud Alert and watch the video here.

  • A truck driver pleaded not guilty to killing a cyclist after a shipping container fell off his trailer in Carson. Read more about the case.

  • A Pasadena man accused of assaulting his child’s baseball coach entered a plea in court. Find out about his sentence.

  • A 24-year-old man was charged with breaking into his grandfather’s home and severely beating the elderly man. Learn about the charges he faces.

LADA Salutes its Volunteers of the Year

Every week, volunteers Hanna Dreiling and Rosa Garcia dedicated time to helping victims of crime navigate the criminal justice system.

As volunteers for the Bureau of Victim Services, the pair collectively donated more than 1,500 hours to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. For their effort and enduring commitment, the two were presented the county’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year Award.

Dreiling, an Azusa Pacific University graduate and former personal trainer, donated 650 hours for more than a year, working as a victim services representative at the Torrance Courthouse. In that role, Dreiling offered support to crime victims, many of whom were unfamiliar with legal proceedings and had never set foot in court.

“Everything that you do in this field is usually kind of dark and kind of ugly,” Dreiling said. “With the Bureau of Victim Services, you get to walk with victims and help them recover.”

In February, the enthusiastic volunteer made her commitment official by accepting a full-time position with the Bureau of Victim Services.

Before becoming a volunteer, Garcia was a county employee for 33 years. It was her interest in helping others, particularly those affected by crime, that prompted her to join the volunteer ranks in the District Attorney’s Office.

Now, in her fifth year as a volunteer victim services representative, she continues to find the work immensely rewarding.

The hours she has invested – more than 950 to date – and the manner in which her supervisor characterizes her performance as “compassionate, caring, patient and sympathetic with crime victims” affirms that this is no ordinary job for Garcia.

“Most victims are happy and surprised there’s this service and want to have the counseling.” Garcia states. “I like that we’re helping them to heal.”

Dreiling and Garcia were nominated for the county’s Volunteer of the Year Award by their volunteer coordinators. The women were presented with the award at a ceremony in April where volunteers from throughout the county were honored for their service.

To become a volunteer, visit http://da.lacounty.gov/contact/volunteer .

LADA Receives National Recognition for Mental Health Training, Fraud Prevention

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has been recognized by the National Association of Counties (NACo) for its mental health awareness training program for law enforcement personnel and fraud prevention campaign for seniors.

Each year, NACo presents its achievement awards to notable county agencies whose programs have provided valuable and innovative services to residents.

In 2016, District Attorney Jackie Lacey established the “Mental Health Awareness: Crisis Intervention for First Responders” course to improve the manner in which first responders interact with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.  The free two-day training course is offered twice a month in locations across Los Angeles County. By June 2017, approximately 1,060 first responders attended the trainings and learned how to successfully de-escalate situations involving mentally ill people.

The program has received positive feedback. One first responder wrote, “Thank you for finally providing us with good, useful information that will help me do a better job out there.”

The District Attorney’s Office also received recognition from NACo for its #FraudFriday campaign.

District Attorney Lacey set a goal of educating seniors about financial scams after her elderly mother nearly fell victim to one.

Assistant District Attorney Joseph Esposito, who oversees the Bureau of Fraud and Corruption Prosecutions, worked with prosecutors and the Bureau of Communications to launch the wide-ranging public education initiative which underscores prevalent and emerging scams.

“The goal is to empower and protect Los Angeles County constituents through fraud education, thereby keeping financial predators at bay,” Esposito said.

Since the campaign’s inception in 2015, more than 45 Fraud Alerts have been produced. The biweekly alerts are distributed on the office’s website, via email to more than 500 reporters and editors and on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #FraudFriday.

In addition, paper copies of the Fraud Alerts are distributed to agencies serving older adults. The #FraudFriday alerts have been featured in more than 55 news articles in the past two years.

For more Fraud Alerts, visit http://da.lacounty.gov/community/fraud-alerts.
Did You Know...?

Deputy district attorneys carry badges just like District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s badge, pictured left. New prosecutors receive their badges after they have successfully completed a one-year probationary period. Each badge contains the county seal and a unique badge number. They are authorized under Los Angeles County Code, Chapter 5.64.130.
Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office | (213) 974-3512  | info@da.lacounty.gov

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