Ignorance is not bliss

EDITOR:

Recently, several individuals have submitted letters to the Daily Press criticizing the work of the Delta County Prosecutor Philip Strom. These letters are generally ill informed and do not provide a true picture of the hard-working people within the prosecutor’s office. As the assistant prosecuting attorney, I can personally attest to this.

Addressing the recent letters of Julie Hoffmeyer and Kathie Scott specifically, our jobs are more than just the blurbs one sees in the newspaper. Countless hours of hard work goes into each and every case that comes through our office. None of these hours are accounted for by either Ms. Hoffmeyer or Ms. Scott. It is worth noting that there were 31 trials in 2017 between our three courts, handled by the three attorneys in the prosecutor’s office. Additionally, I wholeheartedly believe it would shock you to know the astounding number of cases of abuse and neglect that have not made it into the media, the cases of children being found in drug-houses, sexually abused, or with serious physical injuries. These cases resulted in termination of parental rights and criminal convictions. Yet you sit there in judgment of one case, with a limited understanding of the facts, circumstances, or law that governs our job.

Moreover, your criticism of Mr. Strom is entirely misplaced. In the year I have been working with Mr. Strom, I have been amazed at the compassion he shows to victims and the efforts he puts forth with each case that crosses his desk. Mr. Strom will always step up to work late hours, or come in on the weekend when there is the need for an emergency hearing. This is a task he could delegate to one of his assistants, but he takes on this responsibility himself. Mr. Strom has tirelessly worked with the community to combat several issues we face, including drug addiction. Drug addiction intersects with all types of crimes, including theft, assaults, abuse and neglect, driving, and financial crimes. By working to end the drug addiction problem within Delta County, Mr. Strom is working to reduce all crime. He has been instrumental in providing Delta County with progressive, forward-thinking programs, such as the Angel Program, Handcuffs to Hardhats, Drug Court, and the Child Advocacy Center. Outside of the office, Mr. Strom is also involved in community organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters and is a member of Bay College as a Trustee. Does this sound like someone who has no regard for children or his staff?

Rather that criticizing Mr. Strom, you should be applauding the significant efforts he has made to make Delta County a better place. Ignorance is not bliss. I implore you to talk to anyone in the prosecutor’s office regarding our day-to-day job. Ask questions. The courts are open to the public, come observe court hearings or jury trials. Look beyond the black and white newsprint and make an informed opinion about Mr. Strom and his office before you sit in judgment.

Lauren M. Wickman

Delta County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney