While the vigorous and professional prosecution of those who violate the law is a district attorney's primary function, the Rockland County District Attorney's Office has proactively collaborated with law enforcement, educators and social service providers to develop a series of innovative crime prevention and intervention measures. In this section, you will find specific initiatives aimed at ensuring safer schools and communities for everyone.
In 2008, the Rockland County Drug Court celebrated its tenth anniversary. The Drug Court, first launched in Clarkstown, is a treatment court program for defendants with drug and alcohol problems charged with nonviolent misdemeanor and felony crimes. Defendants are diverted from incarceration to chemical dependency treatment supervised by the Drug Court Team. The mission of the Rockland County Drug Court is to bring together the justice system with the chemical dependency treatment system to assist substance abusers with criminal charges, who meet program criteria, to overcome their drug problem, benefiting both themselves and the community. Learn More.
High School Intervention and Diversion Program
During his tenure as a judge in the Village of West Haverstraw, District Attorney Thomas Zugibe created and implemented a cutting-edge program designed to maximize the number of at-risk students who chose to successfully complete their studies. By partnering with the North Rockland Central School District, then Judge Zugibe linked the adjudication of juvenile offenses to improved school performance and conduct, seeking to divert youthful offenders from the criminal justice system. Learn More.
Veteran's Alternative to Incarceration Program (VATI)
Many veterans returning from active duty in Iraq and/or Afghanistan turn to drugs and alcohol in an effort to self-medicate service-related issues. Others facing readjustment are left to struggle through a range of unwanted emotional responses to the trauma of combat. Often, these vets enter the criminal justice system in Rockland County. As part of the VATI program, returning service members facing nonviolent criminal charges in Rockland are identified and screened, then linked with veteran-specific substance abuse and mental health treatment programs as alternatives to incarceration. Learn More.
Youth & Police Initiative
In his continuing effort to reduce and prevent crime among Rockland County's younger population, District Attorney Thomas Zugibe announced the launch of the Youth and Police Initiative (YPI) in late 2008. YPI is a training program created by the Massachusetts-based North American Family Institute to enhance police officers and prosecutors understanding of the beliefs, values, and experiences of local youth, while ensuring that youth develop a genuine regard for the challenges that police officers face on the job. Learn More.