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Prosecutor seeks help due to increase in caseload

Submitted by on April 17, 2019 – 12:56 amNo Comment

Alpena County Prosecutor Ed Black has asked commissioners for additional funding to help combat an increase in the number of cases moving through his office.

The approximate $17,000 would cover the cost of moving an assistant prosecutor into a full time position with benefits.

The office currently operates with three full-time prosecutors, including Black, and one part time.

An average of 1,112 cases were handled by the office between 2009-2016, which doesn’t include mental health hearings, abuse and neglect cases or civil work for the county. The number of cases increased by more than 300 in 2017 to 1,453 and totaled 1,387 in 2018. The caseload is expected to remain well above the average again this year.

Black says he can’t pinpoint exactly why the caseload increased in 2017 and remains high. He said it could be due to more crime, more police on the streets, a rise in mental health cases, more alcohol and drug abuse, changes in social and economic issues and more. He believes it is likely a combination of various factors.

The county’s personnel committee has approved Black’s request and on Tuesday the finance committee agreed to move the matter to the full board for additional discussion on April 30.