I thank all of our community leaders who appeared at the Board of Supervisor’s meeting held on May 28. With your leadership and through your dedication, you serve our communities well and work every single day to provide our youth and families with a promising future.
I appreciate your appearing at the Board of Supervisors meeting to show support for RICO funds used by your organization and believe this helped educate the Board as to how these funds continue to assist in law enforcement efforts by curbing crime in Pinal. For those in attendance at the board meeting, presenters provided evidence of some of the beneficial impacts these RICO funds serve in our community and of the successful programs and organizations they lead with the assistance of this funding.
Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Funding comes from the forfeiture of money and property by law enforcement after obtaining these assets used or gained through criminal activities. This funding is then allocated to law enforcement agencies for use as statutorily permitted.
After taking office, I formalized the process by which groups and nonprofits apply for and receive RICO funding by creating a semi-annual review process. The review process ensures RICO moneys are targeted toward those organizations promoting substance abuse prevention and education, gang prevention, support for crime victims and other law enforcement purposes.
I understand the budgetary constraints faced by the Board and know they work to keep the promises they made during their election campaigns. RICO funds, however, along with their permissions, come with certain limitations, such as RICO funds may not be used to replace cyclical costs, such as personnel wages. Further, they may only be used for one-time expenses such as personnel training and equipment, as long as that use does not backfill budget cuts.
Enforcing the law requires a much larger job than just putting ‘bad guys’ in prison.
It’s about working together as a community. My goal remains building a community based, vertical style, and team prosecuting office. A community-based, prosecuting office includes the ability to provide the funds to organizations that work to comfort and build up victims, rehabilitate drug abusers, and provide our children the resources to completely avoid drug use.
The RICO funds supporting these community programs arise out of our State RICO funds. While there are fewer requirements on State RICO funds than exists on Federal RICO funds, this increased flexibility still does not permit supplanting, or replacing, our budget with the use of these funds. It does, however, provide us the ability to reinvest in our communities to build them stronger while putting a financial strain on the criminals.
Specifically, we reinvested these funds to support programs that offered child care programs, rehabilitation centers, high school graduation lock-ins, little league teams and other youth-involvement programs, DUI reenactments for students, substance abuse coalitions, organizations handling pet-therapy for abused children, numerous domestic violence organizations, various law enforcement agencies, and many other organizations that
specifically work toward a law enforcement and substance abuse prevention end.
Additionally, the Pinal County Attorney’s Family Advocacy Center (San Tan Valley) should be opening within the next several months to serve victims of domestic violence, child and sexual abuse, and elder abuse. This Center, soon to arrive in or near the area that Supervisor Chase was elected to represent, is only possible with the support of our communities and the use of State RICO funding.
It is no secret that Supervisor Chase participated in the approval processes for RICO funds during her tenure with Sheriff Paul at the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and I continue my open invitation to her and the other supervisors to stand with me in providing RICO funds to our community partners. There should be no reason for the community to believe that Supervisor Chase, or other Board members, are not compassionate or that they don’t want what’s best for our community.
I’m proud of where these State RICO funds went and I will continue to reinvest ‘bad guys’ money for good purposes in the exact same way, except with the caveat that if we can afford it, I will provide more to each group!
While there is a use limit of only 15% for Federal RICO funds allowed for community organizations, these are State RICO funds and there is no mandated percentage requirement, rather merely suggested guidelines.
As for my office, as long as we have State RICO funds, we will continue to provide them as generously as possible. To all of those organizations willing to assist the Pinal County Attorney’s Office with crime prevention,
I, again, thank you for your continued service. And to those of you, who meet the eligibility requirements and wish to apply for RICO funds, I ask you to submit your requests to my office before our next deadline, which is November 15th.
Thank you again for your leadership in our communities,
/s/ Lando Voyles
Pinal County Attorney