Lackawanna County DA Mark Powell about law enforcement and plans as district attorney

Newsmaker Interviews
Thursday, January 18th

Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell discusses law enforcement and his plans as district attorney with Frank Andrews.


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

I am very honored to have on the line with us right now the new district attorney in black one accounting more Powell mark thank you so much for joining us. I have frank how are you good how are you you have had a busy couple weeks I've been talking to your into your department trying to get this scheduled and you have just been busy busy busy what's been going on in your office. I did a great day started out interviewing everybody but in the midst of the interview was discovered that one of 88 had a trial so I had a slight diversion I try to case with them and that was. So good start so in the in the last two weeks I've interviewed him. All the staff interviewed all the lawyers. Made my transition with the new first assistant. And and I see your counsel. And and try to case so that's that's a pretty ambitious start but it's a lot of fun. You know I wanna ask you I'm I'm sure your heart is broken as much as and we are you know about the incident that happened in Harrisburg. I am I don't know much about it to be honest with you because I've been Abkhazia have just picked up them on hold here with some of the things that are occurring so. US Marshal delivering a warrant with other officers. Somebody in the house fired the Marshall who is up 45 year old army veteran and eleven year veteran of it Marshal service was killed a wife and two kids I. With our heart is broken whenever a police officer a first responders attacked like that it's just so wrong. It's tragic and I and I can tell you. Now working hand in hand with many of them are wonderful people who served. They're they're courage is amazing that trial that I had actually. Had our Tony detectors in during. How most where. The defendant had I had run. And they were saying as you know like I Q when I would go out for a cup of coffee that stage you know had guns drawn they entered they could secure the basement in and and then and unfortunately they were able to apprehend the individual and I'm listening to them because we have to prepare their testimony now when we were trying to support resisting arrest claim. Listening how they're saying there's like they're going out for a morning coffee and and don't even. Realize. There's danger that they placed themselves in me entering a room where the suspects sees them. Oh well before they could ever identify the ambush. In I just have the utmost respect for law enforcement and and I can tell you that we are very well protected with. The people we have and ensure my eight of my sympathies are with. It is marshal's guns and Harrisburg hey I just have only recently learned about it. County and Lamar didn't tell us a little bit about the staff that you supported now I know I spent in the news but just bring us up to date and I know who's two and want to and I know you chose. Sure just so the first assistant is June the price if she is donate. Trial lawyers for. More than thirty years she's tremendously qualified started out in the district attorney's office. Was also solicitor for children and youth where she protected. Abused. Two homes and she just has 80 well those background it's just killed tens and brings a lot to the table. She's also the first. Woman to be appointed first assistant and lack wanna count and I'm very proud of that's that's not why she was chosen but it's certainly about time. Should that women take leadership roles in the end in these positions and I notion will be a great entertainers. Many and that capacity to. Tom the other gentlemen it is a lifelong prosecutor problems. Lucerne county was first assistant under propulsion speech and also served as. What a senior law clerk for for several of the judges in Lucerne county and and I'm very honored that Tim Phillips has joined us and as they just they welcomed information she. Was my first tire came with me and has been by my side day one. Through all the interviews. He is just stayed great resource to me put but. Now it's some of the attorneys are getting comfortable with them they're all called going to whom so he's a resource call. Two great people to have by my side. Not to help me and still my vision to the office and and and get everybody aboard so I'm I'm I'm really. Honored to have these two folks. At the Helm with me side by side. But the former first assistant Jeanne Ricardo who is also very experienced lifelong prosecutor. We'll resume resume his role says. Deputy in the office. Humble we're going to that process now my my hope is that home many of these individuals. Stay in their current capacities or. Take on additional duties and be part of the transition we have some really good folks working here. You know frankly some attorneys who need a little more trial experience in development but that's. Part of my vision is to provide them does support. It's necessary. The procedures and policies to follow and give them. All room to grow that we can provide. In order to make a an elite group for prosecutors which is what my vision is just this. Now I know it you know you're gonna you're going to be. Overwhelmed with all the crime and an almost stuff that just goes along with the position of district attorney but do you see a specific problem or do you have some specific. Odd target goal what you want to accomplish whether that's the old Buick or something else and black when it counted that is just going to be a big part of your administration. I'm sure they're so their answer you know their problems at all levels. I think the biggest epidemic we're dealing with it currently is C open the way to epidemic. We're just losing young folks at an alarming rate and it. Cuts across all demographics thought you know if it happens to us. They're educated and the uneducated the wealthy in the poorer if they don't do whites blacks eat it it's just it's just not discriminating so. There are some good programs in effect to help there's certainly some more attention now on the state national level. But we are dealing with a really bad problem and and that is primarily. Where. My administration will be focused. Home as to try to route to try to curtail and address some of these issues cells. We're channeling it a little differently we're targeting the commercial dealers so. Particularly the want to part of our area a lot harder that was the trial we thumb had earlier in the week beginning of last week. Which was an out of town dealer. In the business of selling drugs here. The individual. Rejected. An offer that had been on the table under the prior administration. And we pulling offer and went false. Steam ahead and intimidate them a call nine counts he was charged with. We are still going to be open minded and sympathetic to addicts who need help so many of the programs that are in effect will remain in effect. We have a very successful drug court program in my corner county and I support. That court as well as getting addicts are helped but we're gonna take a much stronger and for a position of the drug dealers. I'm quite have you come have you come across anything in in in the office that's frustrating something that you need to have something that you need to kind of redesign or some area where you need support and help. Yeah sure we have a lot of need to listen to address those pretty well that anecdote I tell all the time as I discovered that our mail. Come from the US post office. Goes three steps before comes to my office so after its delivered. It goes to the court house first where we don't have for the presence. It's been goes to the court annex building its distribution. And then comes to my process. Or say I had a question that now coming from no private business it just didn't make sense and I was told that's the way it's done so. I thought she'd in my missing some things. Security issues so I can go to my background a man and this course we do get mail here people know our address. To melt things so it's not a security issue you know I think I'm you know I jokingly say I think they just never changed the letterhead and 25 years but but that is the process so there's immediate fixes. That being probably the funniest but but obviously there are dozens. Fixes that I can implement right away and have implemented. In order to make simple things as simple as they appear. There's a longer term goals we have those broken down as six months to twelve months but there's a lot of the things that can be fixed to be more efficient. And I think I bring that to the table coming from from running a business amid thick and that's a simple example will believe me there are some things with respect to. Getting files currently providing. Discovery addressing. Phone calls that there are easy fixes that we're gonna be implemented wrong in a much more professional manner. And then there are certainly some areas that we need but are not fund it and and that's the frustrating part because. So you're always dealing with budgetary constraints. We compared to. In desperate need of a forensic accountant and that's just not something that we have for the war that we can get right now but. There's a clear need for. That because that addresses one of my other focuses logistics help to block any elderly abuse and and unfortunately. Since this is something that sometimes is turned. 22. To civil lawyers to try to redress in the stands and it's and it's and it's criminals. Slights and and we just don't have the skill level to address all of these issues without someone with some accounting more business background to. Address bank accounts send and so we have a real need. That would be inside them up a primary focus of mine did so I I didn't even bring over my own secretary who's been with before many many years because at any order of importance I need. Certain things that are more and importance of to me than than having one of my most trusted confidant. So right now I eight. I'm looking to fill some positions in the transition where there's capsules need to forensic accountants it is his primary. And office administrator it would be helpful to address some of their. Typical. Issues you know that frankly. This. District attorney has addressed in the past but these are things that are addressed. At a different level and most businesses and just cries out for certain positions but but I'll be patient will work with the resources we have will run more. Efficient well I think I know since you were sworn in I've been talking to your office you hit the ground running and I know you've been busy but I do wanna thank you for taking time to talk to us we wish you success that we will give you as much support as we possibly can and and we thank you for your service for the community thank you mark Powell might later frank thank you YouTube by a bunch.