Mr. Benito deserves recognition and gratitude for the outstanding job done serving as Shasta County’s District Attorney. The public may not be aware of the continuous public safety issues addressed each day by Mr. Benito.
In the past five years, I have observed Mr. Benito’s diligence in successfully campaigning to save, enhance and develop collaboratives geared towards victims of crime. With victim’s needs in mind, Mr. Benito and Maggie John worked together to save Shasta’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), which may have been potentially dismantled due to budget constraints. Mr. Benito developed DVERT, a Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team, to meet the needs of numerous families faced with family violence in Shasta County and to enhance accountability of repeat offenders. Statistics show at least 200 families face family violence issues in Shasta County each month.
Recently, the District Attorney’s Office received one of six grants from the California Family Justice Center Initiative via Blue Shield, which will allow the development of a one-stop shop for crime victim services. The requirements of this grant call for multi-disciplinary collaboration, which Mr. Benito is very familiar with.
Monthly, multi-disciplinary groups formed to detect system deficiencies in the areas of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, drunk driving, elder abuse, drug abuse, etc, meet and gage Shasta County needs. Mr. Benito has constantly been a primary contributor in assessing and correcting the challenges faced in each of these areas.
The public may not know that Mr. Benito conscientiously places importance on victim’s and their families first above all else in criminal proceedings. He is also tough on crime. But, isn’t that what we want from a District Attorney?
It is important to measure a man’s integrity by his ability to look a person in the eye, shake a hand and do what he says he is going to do. Mr. Benito personifies that man. It is crucial to have a District Attorney who is tough on crime and victim oriented based on a proven track record, rather than one who cares more for defendant’s rights and is not involved in any public safety measures.
Shasta County citizens: Let’s thank D.A. Jerry Benito for a job well done!
Angela R. Fitzgerald is Program Director for the Crime Victims Assistance Center.