1/2/2013 11:33:00 AM County Attorney talks crime and cutting edge programs David Rozema meets with Williams Rotary Dec. 6, announces Williams Elementary's Raven Christiansen winner of anti-drug poster contest
Coconino County Attorney David Rozema displays the winning poster in his office’s “Live Drug Free” poster contest at the Williams Rotary meeting Dec. 6. The winner was Raven Christiansen of Williams Elementary-Middle School. Ryan Williams/WGCN
WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Crime is up in Coconino County. According to Coconino County Attorney David Rozema, his office has an increased caseload following three to four years of a downward trend.
The number of violent crimes, such as murder and violent rapes, has also increased in the county.
"We've really had a steady stream of really serious, horrendous crimes," he said.
Rozema discussed the status of his office and several of its initiatives at the Williams Rotary meeting Dec. 6.
Retention has improved in the County Attorney's office thanks to recruiting efforts in law schools. The office also uses mentoring to help newer attorneys learn from more experienced attorneys.
Some of the new programs within the County Attorney's office are the Mental Health and Veteran's courts.
"We try to identify these types of cases that are usually chronic low-level offenders that come in and out of jail repeatedly and try to identify if they have a mental health issue or if they're a veteran," Rozema said. "We try to bring intervention to them... rather than just putting them in jail."
Finally, the office will continue its outreach efforts, such as talking to kids about drug prevention.
One of those outreach efforts is the "Live Drug Free" poster contest. The Coconino County Attorney's Office sponsored its fourth contest for sixth graders in October.
This year's grand prize winner was Raven Christiansen of Williams Elementary-Middle School. Raven's poster depicts a smiling student with his brain showing and the message "Keep your brain, just refrain."
Rozema said the poster was the overwhelming favorite of the selection committee.
"Great kid, a lot of fun and we're really proud of him. It's a beautiful poster," Rozema said. "The reason we do the poster contest in sixth grade is that's such an important age now," Rozema said, adding that when he goes to schools to talk to these students, several say they know others who drink and use drugs.
"For our sixth graders, life is complicated. It's a pretty serious deal," Rozema said.
More than 500 students throughout the county participated in the contest.
"The poster contest gets them excited and gets them involved and gives the kids an opportunity to do artwork in the form of posters," Rozema said.
The County Attorney's Office provides the supplies. Rozema gives awards to the top three posters in each class. In addition, the County Attorney's Office organizes a selection committee to vote for the overall winners.
"It's very competitive. These kids are incredible. Their creativity and the beauty of their artwork is unbelievable," Rozema said.
The County Attorney's office puts the posters of the top three overall winners on a wall calendar. The first place winner receives a fully paid field trip to the Phoenix Art Museum. The second place winner's poster design is printed on t-shirts for that student's class. The third place winner's poster design is printed on bookmarks.
"It's not easy to win, I'll tell you, the competition is fierce," Rozema said.