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Hillsborough State Attorney hopeful Andrew Warren releases community engagement proposal

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Hillsborough State Attorney candidate Andrew Warren has released a community engagement proposal that he says is aimed at rebuilding trust between the public and the State Attorney’s Office.

“The cornerstone of any public institution is trust.  Nowhere is that more important than in a public prosecutor working for the taxpayers” Warren said in a statement.  “As a Department of Justice prosecutor going after some of the worst fraudsters in the country, I fought for taxpayers every day.  Voters deserve that same dedication in our State Attorney, and they deserve assurance of a job well done.”

The Democrat’s proposal lists three components which he says he would phased if he were to defeat four-term GOP incumbent Mark Ober this November. They are:

1- holding an annual open forum that would be streamed live with the community and his deputies to report on the direction of the office and any policy changes that had occurred in the past year.

2- Host a community workshop four times a year that would be streamed live with his deputies and community leaders to address specific concerns raised by constituents.

3- Implement new technology in the State Attorney’s office to track charging, plea and sentencing information with other metadata to aid in targeting crime more efficiently, which those statistics placed on the department’s website.

“The job of the State Attorney requires not just managing the office of prosecutors but also engaging with the community to prevent and reduce crime,” Warren said.  “This is a simple step to improve relations between the office and the community, and I’m happy to make this commitment to Hillsborough County.

In his press release, Warren notes that in making arrangements to meet regularly with the public, he’s following the recommendations made by the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing report issued earlier this month regarding the Tampa Police Department’s policy regarding bicycle stops, and says it was “an issue for which the incumbent State Attorney has been criticized for his failure to participate in community forums regarding race and law enforcement.”

Ober got into a dispute with attorney Barry Cohen last year after he opted to not to engage in a community discussion on race sponsored by the Tampa attorney, leading to a bitter public clash between the two men.

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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