Accomplishments & Initiatives
The D.A.’s office prosecutes nearly 10,000 criminal cases and 100,000 vehicle and traffic cases each year. Members of the D.A.’s Office are in the county’s 44 justice courts, grand jury and county court each day to ensure that violators of the law are held accountable. The role of the D.A.’s Office has expanded in the community throughout the years, and promoted crime victims’ rights.
- Achieved one of the highest conviction rates on all indictments, judging each felony on a case by case basis to ensure that justice is served and that victims rights are protected.
- Adopted a “no plea bargaining” policy for DWI repeat offenders and established a special DWI Prosecution Unit.
- Established a Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit and, working closely with domestic violence victims service agencies to hold batterers responsible for their criminal conduct.
- Helped victims of rape and sexual abuse by working collaboratively with other local agencies to establish the Sexual Assault Forensic Nurse Examiner (SAFE) Program to improve the collection of forensic evidence. Further assisted in expanding the SAFE exams to children at the Child Advocacy Center (CAC), training law enforcement and prosecutors and working with Saratoga Hospital to provide medical exams at the CAC.
- Created a Narcotics and Forfeiture Prosecution Unit, which works with local law enforcement agencies, the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department and the New York State Police to combat the ever present issues involving illegal drugs and narcotics.
- Saved the lives of unwanted newborn babies by co-sponsoring the “Safe Haven” program, encouraging mothers to place unharmed infants at medical facilities within a short period after birth, without fear of criminal prosecution.
- Continue to support the Crime Victims Unit in the D.A.’s Office, which helps victims understand and participate in their case in order to obtain substantial justice.
- Partner with the Harriet M. West Child Advocacy Center (CAC) in Saratoga County. The Center’s mission is to protect children and infants from harm. As part of the Center for the Family, the CAC provides comprehensive counseling, medical and law enforcement contact at a single location where all agencies convene to deliver services.
- Actively staff and participate in Felony and Misdemeanor Drug Treatment Courts, designed to work with the substance abusers so they can receive the treatment, rehabilitation and education with the goal of rejoining our communities as active, law abiding participants.
- Partner with local school districts in the county to combat school truancy by identifying parents who need help with parenting skills, utilizing the Strengthening Families Program and working with school truancy officers to increase school attendance and participation in school activities by parents and students.
- Developed an excellent working relationship with federal authorities as a graduate of the FBI National Citizens’ Academy. The Alumni Association of the FBI Citizens’ Academy is a community-based and supported organization, distinct and separate from the FBI, designed to promote a safer community through community service projects and a process of educating business, labor, media, medical, minority, religious, government, senior citizens, and other community leaders about law enforcement, with particular emphasis on the mission, resources, and limitations of the FBI. Each member of the FBI Citizens’ Academy Alumni Association is a graduate of an eight-week FBI Citizens’ Academy Alumni Association curriculum which focuses on federal law enforcement issues and challenges. Graduates of the curriculum are eligible for participation in the FBI Citizens’ Academy Alumni organization. That network of alumni meets periodically to update graduates on federal law enforcement issues and provide education on state and local law enforcement matters.
- Reached out to area law schools to recruit interns to assist attorneys in the office with special research and writing projects and to allow interns an opportunity to become certified by the appellate division to prosecute criminal cases, as students, while being supervised by the prosecutors.
- Established an Integrated Domestic Violence Court (IDV) in the Saratoga County by working with the Office of Court Administration, Supreme, County, Family and City Courts so that victims of domestic violence have one court that handles all cases, rather than separate courts handling only parts of the case. Assigned a full time assistant DA to help victims of domestic violence in IDV court.
The District Attorney’s Office is always open to new ideas or how to improve upon existing initiatives. Please call the office if you have a suggestion or write to DA Heggen using the on- line form by clicking the “Contact the D.A.” button in the top margin of this page.