In July 2000, under the leadership of District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr., the Fulton County DA’s Office opened its first Community Prosecution office in Southwest Atlanta’s Zone 4. Today, there are nine community prosecution offices encompassing all of Atlanta’s Police Zone communities as well as North and South Fulton – a dream realized for Mr. Howard, who introduced the concept to Fulton County fourteen years ago with the hope of eventually expanding the program countywide.
Following the national community prosecution model, Fulton County prosecutors are strategically placed in community-based offices for greater visibility and accessibility to residents. It is a grassroots approach to law enforcement that
involves long-term, proactive partnerships among prosecutors, police, public and private organizations and the community at-large. Community Prosecutors in Fulton County are tasked with determining and acting upon community criminal justice priorities. Oftentimes this includes prosecuting repeat offenders who commit quality of life crimes such as burglary, theft and illegal drug activity.
Community Prosecutors also administer the District Attorney’s widely successful Citizens’ CourtWatch program in addition to his signature youth programs: Junior District Attorney and Legal Lives.
Fulton County’s Community Prosecution program has been hailed as a national model of success. In 2004, the program was named a Leadership site by the center for Court Innovation-only one of ten sites nationally to have received such a distinction. In 2011, Fulton County Community Prosecutors were selected by the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys to co-host its regional conference on Community Prosecution last fall.