NAAG Midwestern Region Meeting Held

Over 50 participants gathered in Oklahoma City, Okla., for the NAAG Midwestern Region Meeting on April 25 and 26. The meeting theme was “Attorneys General: Chief Law Enforcement Officers in a New Age of Public Safety.” The meeting host and Midwestern Region chair, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, and his superb staff led by First Assistant Attorney General Tom Bates and Chief of Staff Melissa McLawhorn Houston, rolled out the welcome mat and ensured everyone enjoyed their visit.

Attorney General Pruitt and his staff, with assistance from NAAG’s Deputy Executive Director Chris Toth, Chief of Staff Scott Messing, and Project Assistant Rupalee Rashatwar, put together an outstanding program of dynamic and thought-provoking panels and inspiring speakers. Panel topics included “The Economics of Crime: the True Costs and Benefits of Reducing Violent Crime” moderated by NAAG Executive Director Jim McPherson; “Crime Prevention: An Overview of Best Practices” moderated by Attorney General Pruitt; “Broken Windows, Intelligence Driven Prosecutions, and the Dramatic Reduction of Crime in New York City” moderated by NAAG Deputy Executive Director Toth; “Reducing Domestic Violence Homicides: Emerging Solutions” moderated by the chief deputy of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, Cynthia Coffman; and “Breaking the Cycle of Criminal Behavior: Consequences for Offenders and What Really Works” moderated by NAAG President-Elect and Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. Guest speakers included Dr. Bernard Melekian of the Paratus Group and Chief Bob Ricks of the Edmond Police Department who spoke on “Policing Strategies: Lessons from Law Enforcement”; NAAG Supreme Court Chief Counsel Dan Schweitzer who covered “The U.S. Supreme Court: Trends and Directions in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure”; Executive Director Scott Burns of the National District Attorneys Association and Deputy Attorney General Jerry Coyne of the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office addressed “Hot Topics and Trends in Public Safety” ; and, the final speaker was former Oklahoma State Senator Brooks Douglass who gave a very moving presentation on “Remembering the True Cost of Crime: A Victim’s Perspective.” At age 16, Mr. Douglass survived a vicious attack upon his family during which his parents were both murdered and he, and his younger sister, were shot and left for dead. The subsequent trial, conviction, and death penalty led to the Supreme Court case of Ake v. Oklahoma.

Thursday evening will be remembered for its tour and reception at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. Attorney General Pruitt and former Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Turpen acted as hosts and guides through the very informative, inspiring and moving exhibits.

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