Submitted by Dan Smith

Many things have changed since I first became prosecuting attorney in 2007. Or have they? Certainly, the world-at-large is a different place today than it was fifteen years ago. Have we changed as a community? In 2007 this county had a major drug problem. Law enforcement and my office moved aggressively against drug dealers and we were able to significantly tamp down the problem. But as we know, drug use never totally ends. Is 2022 as bad as 2007? From my knowledge it is not; but a new crop of drug problems have arisen, including fentanyl and the abuse of prescription medications. However, my knowledge is limited and I am reaching out to all of you for help. Drugs have historically been the top crime concern in Atchison County; are they still the top concern today? What are our expectations for those that are caught with drugs?

Theft is on the rise and has been since last fall. Theft is a leading indicator of an economic downturn, with a usual lead time of two months. I would expect as this economic downturn persists we will continue to see an above-average number of theft crimes. What are our expectations for criminal justice outcomes for those charged with theft?

Fortunately, most of the “crimes” committed in Atchison County are traffic violations, and not serious felonies. What are our thoughts on dispositions of traffic offenses?

In Missouri, prosecuting attorneys are given wide latitude in effecting outcomes in criminal matters; everywhere from cutting a break to throwing-the-book at a criminal defendant. I am interested in knowing the county’s views on the use of prosecutorial discretion. Under what circumstances should the prosecuting attorney’s hand be light; and under what circumstances should the prosecuting attorney’s hand be heavy?

I would like to hear from the good people of Atchison County. I will make myself available to attend group meetings to discuss these matters and get your input. If you wish to make your position known individually, send me an email. The office email address is atchisonpa@atcomo.org. Let us work together to provide for a fair criminal justice system that secures our liberties.