On behalf of Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans I would like to commend the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office and its Victim Services Unit for hosting the Victims Rights Rally today at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice.
I want to thank Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Lorna Davison Victim Advocate, and Jennifer Gossard, Assistant Director of the Victim Services Unit, as well as everyone else for their comments this afternoon. But I especially would like to thank the two brave crime survivors, Jennifer Rybka and Jasmine Cross-Wilson, who shared their stories.
I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision to be there today talking about such a difficult time in your lives, but your presence certainly put a human face on the issue.
I also think it's important that we acknowledge the excellent work done on a consistent basis by the Victims Service Unit (VCU) of the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.
Their work is so critical to fighting crime, and yet they are often overlooked and underappreciated for all that they do.
They are the ones who help crime victims wade through all of the bureaucracy during what is often the most traumatic event of their lives. VCU helps get them back on their feet.
As a former Judge, I can attest, I've seen firsthand the strain trials and the criminal justice system can have on victims and their loved ones.
The Wayne County Executive is someone who has dedicated his entire professional career to public service, most of which was spent in law enforcement. He can tell you this is an issue that is very close to his heart.
Too many times he and I have seen - up close - what violent crime can do on a personal, human and emotional level.
Under Executive Evans, we've demonstrated a collective commitment along with both Sheriff Benny Napoleon and Prosecutor Worthy everything we can to make Wayne County a better place to live, which certainly means a safer place to live.
Since Executive Evans has been in office, our administration has demonstrated just how seriously we take this issue, even in the toughest of fiscal times when we were still working hard to put the County back on solid financial footing, we were able to prioritize public safety that supports our criminal justice system:
- $1 million allocated to the Prosecutor's Office - for three years in a row - for investigating the backlog of rape kit cases. That investment alone allowed prosecutors to test the backlog of unprocessed rape kits and led to the identification and conviction of several rapists.
- $80,000 allocated to fund the Prosecutor's Fair Michigan Justice Program, a program that has become a national model for ensuring justice for LGBTQ crime victims.
- Funded 19 new full-time and one new part-time position in the Prosecutor's Office as it developed the Public Integrity and Conviction Integrity Units.
- Spent $1.5 million this year for retention of experienced prosecutors.
Wayne County isn't on the comeback trail until all of us are on the comeback trail together.