Peer Program for Prosecutors

2022 NACo Achievement Award Winner

San Bernardino County, Calif., CA

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About the Program

Category: Personnel Management, Employment and Training (Best in Category)

Year: 2022

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has recognized the value of providing a way for their employees and their family members to deal with personal and/or professional problems. A successful approach to this problem has been to provide a program which offers a peer support component that is mutually convenient for the peer supporter and supportee in addition to the services and resources provided by other County Employee Assistance Programs. This program provides a special way for employees to talk out problems confidentially with someone who understands and cares. Deputy District Attorney Mary Ashley forecasted how building a peer support team from a prosecutor’s perspective can be a challenging task in of itself, while also ensuring that legal guidelines and laws that mandate requirements are followed, along with provisions for first responders/peer supporter. DDA Mary Ashley created a framework titled ‘Peer Programs for Prosecutors’ which she has presented to multiple District Attorney Offices’, and law enforcement agencies in California and across the nation. Her model combines the best practices of the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office successful peer support program, in conjunctions with the most up to date laws and legal guidelines the govern peer support requirements. While every profession involves stress and challenge, those who work directly with victims of crime and are exposed to secondary violence on a regular basis do, at times, suffer the cumulative effects of trauma. San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office was among the first prosecutorial agencies to establish a successful Peer Support Program which has proven to provide an outlet for that trauma and a bridge to professional support and healing. Since 2019 our office has been teaching the Peer Programs for Prosecutors model and legal training to ensure a prosecutor’s office, or first responder agencies can continue to serve the public with excellence and compassion, while maintaining a healthy and competent environment.