Denise Lunsford - Albemarle County Commonwealth’s AttorneyOver seven years ago, when I had the privilege of being elected as Commonwealth’s Attorney, I promised to work hard to provide competent representation in cases important to our community, improve the public perception of this office, enhance cooperation with law enforcement, and reach out to members of our community to educate them on ways to live safer lives. I have worked hard to achieve those goals.
Today I lead a team of some of the most experienced prosecutors and support personnel in the state and am proud of our dedication to handling cases competently and ensuring that everyone who has contact with this office is treated with fairness. We also engage the assistance of a number of interns from UVa to enhance our efforts as well as prepare future leaders in order to ensure the continuing quality of our justice system.
Difficult decisions are made in this office on a daily basis. In order to earn the confidence of the Albemarle County community, I have established guidelines to ensure consistency in our prosecution efforts. I have also worked to be as transparent as possible in my decision making process and have written open letters outlining my analysis of certain cases important to the community. While not everyone agrees with the decisions made in this office, we are always accessible to victims, defendants and law enforcement alike to answer questions, provide additional information when possible, and receive feedback.
I have worked diligently to partner with our local law enforcement agencies and earn their trust and respect. My attorneys and I are accessible to law enforcement 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I implemented weekly office hours for our attorneys at the Police Department and we conduct trainings on site to ensure that law enforcement is up to date on the latest changes in the law. Together with law enforcement, we have initiated new programs to stop money laundering, slow drug trafficking, and fight internet crime.
I have also used this office to reach out to the community. We have worked with the school system to help with anti-bullying initiatives and provide information about gang activity; with the Albemarle Sheriff’s office to teach a firearms safety class; and the UVa community regarding issues connected with Foxfield and to improve relations between medical professionals, legal professionals, and law enforcement.
All of the above has occurred in an environment of shrinking resources and budget cuts. To that end, I have worked to protect our budget from disastrous cuts that would inhibit our ability to prosecute crime and found additional revenues by agreeing to collect delinquent court fines and costs, allowing more of that revenue to remain in the County.
Quite simply, I love the job, believe I have accomplished a great deal, and hope to have the privilege to continue serving Albemarle County for another 4 years.