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YuCount Community Newsletter MAY 2019

Post Date:05/02/2019 9:45 AM

Jesus has been a team member of Yuma County ITS for almost nine years.  Over his time with Yuma County Jesus has been an asset in several capacities, as a PC Technician, Network Technician, Junior Network Manager and now the IT Security Administrator of Yuma County.  In each of Jesus' previous positions, he has set the bar for dedication, professionalism and technical abilities.

In his current role as IT Security administrator, Jesus has taken on the daunting task of providing protection, education and mitigation of cyber issues while maintaining confidentiality, integrity and availability of the data and systems that are essential to Yuma County and its business needs.  It is not an easy task to measure needed protection(s) to hinder threats and vulnerabilities versus uninterrupted productivity of various systems that are depended on Countywide.

Since the creation of the IT Security division, Jesus has provided trainings, newsletters, audits, reports, mitigation plans, and sophisticated tools.  Each of these has allowed change to happen, making the ever-evolving cyber realm to become better understandable and navigable for the work environment along with each employees' personal cyber environment.

There is no monetary sum that can be coupled to the importance of the work that Jesus performs day in, day out with unwavering dedication.  However, not having a confident, critical thinker that always has Yuma County's best interest as the principal would put the County in peril, making it difficult to communicate with other entities if there was a negative IT Security posture of Yuma County.  Jesus takes the internal and external posture of Yuma County seriously and maintains vigilantly to uphold positive posture.

With Jesus providing IT Security industry standards to educate, audit, introduce tools and adhere to confidentiality, integrity and availability, Yuma County is in a much better position with Information Security.  Nothing is 100%... however, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" (Benjamin Franklin).

Danae Figueroa embodies the Access to Justice initiative in all that she does at the Law Library. Serving the public and local attorneys is at the core of her job. Sharing the court processes with litigants helps save court time and money by reducing bench and staff time. Danae goes above and beyond to serve all those that enter the doors of the law library with equality and respect.  In 2018, approximately 4,000 customers were served by the Law Library by obtaining forms and instructions; and sixteen Legal Information Clinics were held serving nearly 200 participants.  The Law Library is staffed by the Law Library Manager and a part-time Library Assistant.                                   

During her tenure as the Law Library Manager, Danae has developed several programs to serve the public and promote Access to Justice for All. 

Lawyer in the Library: Danae worked closely to develop this program for self-represented litigants. Any member of the public can set an appointment to meet with an attorney on two days scheduled each month to obtain assistance with family law and landlord/tenant issues. 

This program was launched in the latter part of 2017 and has been offered throughout 2018. Studies show that most people don’t have the necessary resources to hire an attorney to address legal issues.

Legal Clinics: Danae continues to administer multiple legal clinics offered to the public on a rotation basis. These clinics include Divorce/Custody Clinic; Adoption Clinic; Guardianship Clinic; Landlord-Tenant Clinic; Set Aside Clinic.

Navigator Program: This past year Danae developed a program working with Arizona Western College utilizing interns from the school that helps the public navigate the courthouse.  Danae is working with this program to film the legal clinics (see above) in both English and Spanish, which are being utilized throughout the state.

Star Employee Appreciation:  Danae heads up the employee appreciation Star program. Each quarter employees are recognized by one another and/or their supervisors for going above and beyond their regular jobs.  Danae organizes the events and (with the help of Vanessa Gamez) does all the event planning, including a fun activity after the announcement of Star of the Quarter.

Safety and security are inextricably linked.  Since Cesar Fazz has been in the position of Court Security Manager he has taken a proactive approach to both security and safety.  A positive change to our procedures is that all injuries of both the public and employees are now documented by detailed reports and photos.  This documentation is shared with the County's Safety Office and/or Risk Management which allows for prompt identification and resolution of risks.  Although it is difficult to estimate a dollar amount, reducing risk and hazards clearly results in cost avoidance.

Cesar and his unit also keep accurate reports of safety/security events and medical incidents that occur in the Yuma County Justice Center, Juvenile Court, JP2, and JP3 that can be used to identify trends, issues, and weaknesses.  The Arizona Administrative Office of the courts in preparing to launch a database that will be the repository for all the reports from around the state.  These reports will also be useful in planning for the abatement of risk and response to security threats.

As part of the Court's three-year phased in implementation of Arizona state-mandated Court Security standards, Cesar has conducted or facilitated Security assessments of all court facilities in Yuma County, including Municipal Courts.  The information compiled will assist the courts in maintaining a safe, secure environment for all of the public and employees.  The assessments also provide justification for Court Security grant applications to the Administrative Office of the Courts for funding to support various security enhancements.

Cesar and his staff provide training to all employees as part of new employee orientation to inform them about security/safety protocols, evacuation, and lockdown procedures.  This class has been very
well-received by both new and long-time employees.


The Yuma County Employee of the Year winner is...

Test IT
Yuma County, National Association of Counties, The Local Initiative Support Corporation, and Rural Community Systems Partnership have teamed up to make it easy for YOU to improve broadband coverage in Yuma County.
Yuma County has partnered with several local agencies to raise awareness about housing resources and fair housing rights...

The Yuma County Fair Housing Committee and Arizona Western College (AWC) were proud to announce Paola Roman as the winner of the 4th Annual Yuma County Fair Housing Poster Contest. Roman is an AWC student who is studying Graphic Communication. “The Key of Opportunities” poster was selected over 16 entries by a vote of the public.

“It was hard to think of a way to include them all without leaving one out,” explained Roman about the focus of his art. “The key represents the opportunities that can be opened if everyone works together to help each other.”

“I wanted to make sure that the sense of community helping each other was conveyed properly,” said Roman.

Students from AWC’s Visual Communication program explored the subjects of discrimination, equality, and civil rights in order to better understand the importance of being a citizen designer. Then they put their creative skills to the test by creating a design that encapsulated the meaning of Fair Housing. The resulting 16 posters were displayed around Yuma County and voting took place online.

Roman’s poster was announced Friday during a reception at the Yuma Art Center where April was proclaimed as Fair Housing Awareness Month.

According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), a courtroom is not a place where you expect to find scenes of celebration and tears of joy. Unless, of course, it’s drug court. This May, drug courts throughout Arizona will join more than 3,000 such programs nationwide in celebrating National Drug Court Month. This year alone, more than 150,000 individuals nationwide who entered the justice system due to addiction will receive lifesaving treatment and the chance to repair their lives, reconnect with their families and find long-term recovery. National Drug Court Month is a celebration of the lives restored by drug court, and it sends the powerful message that these programs must be expanded to reach more people in need.

Thirty years ago, the first drug court opened its doors in Miami-Dade County Florida, with a simple premise: Rather than continue to allow individuals with long histories of addiction and crime to cycle through the justice system at great expense to the public, use the leverage of the court to keep them engaged in treatment long enough to be successful. Today, drug courts and other treatment courts have proven that a combination of accountability and compassion saves lives while also saving valuable resources and reducing exorbitant criminal justice costs.  Scientific research supports that specialty courts reduce crime and drug use and save money, as well as improve education, employment, housing, financial stability and family reunification, and which also reduces foster care placements.

Specialty courts represent a compassionate approach to the ravages of addiction. This year’s National Drug Court Month celebration should signal that the time has come to reap the economic and societal benefits of expanding this proven budget solution to all in need.

NADCP has shared the following statistics and states that Drug courts are the most successful criminal justice intervention for addicted offenders.

*Adult Drug Courts reduce recidivism by as much as 45%.
*75% of Drug Court graduates remain drug-free compared to only 30% of those released from prisons.
*Juvenile Drug Courts reduce recidivism by as much as 40%.
*Sending someone to Drug Court instead of prison can save the taxpayers as much as $13,000.00 per participant.
*For every $1 invested in a Drug Court, communities see a cost saving of up to $27.

Yuma County Drug Court was established in 1998 by then Presiding Judge Tom C. Cole.  The mission of the Yuma County Adult Drug Court is to counter the devastating effects of drugs on the community and individuals by providing selected drug offenders with an opportunity to achieve a chemical-free lifestyle. This is accomplished through Court-coordinated intervention, interactions, diversion, supervision, incentives, sanctions, and graduated levels of drug education, treatment and accountability.

The Yuma County Drug Court Program is a Court-supervised, comprehensive treatment program for drug-addicted defendants. This program includes regular Court appearances before a designated Drug Court Judge and frequent drug testing. Treatment requirements include individual and group counseling, regular attendance at traditional and/or non-traditional, recovery-based, 12-step meetings, such as Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, or other program approved recovery-conducive groups. Treatment is provided through a combined effort of Yuma County Adult Probation counselors and community treatment providers with all treatment being overseen by an in-house clinical supervisor. Other team members include a Drug Court Coordinator, probation officers – which the program refers to as “case managers”, a surveillance officer, deputy county attorneys, a special defense attorney, administrative assistants, and a Yuma Police Department liaison. The program length is a minimum of eighteen months and is composed of two tracks, Track I for pre-conviction cases and Track II for post-conviction cases.

A defendant is eligible for Track I Drug Court if he/she is charged with a probation eligible, felony offense, have no prior felony convictions and are deemed an appropriate candidate by the County Attorney’s office. A defendant who enters Drug Court as a Track I participant will have all criminal charges associated with the case dismissed upon successful completion of the program. Failure to complete the program may result in conviction and sentencing on the original charge(s).

A defendant is eligible for Track II Drug Court if they are convicted of a probation eligible, felony offense. Some restrictions include sexually based offenses and certain violent or weapons convictions. Successful completion and graduation from the program will result in early termination of probation. Failure to complete the program may result in probation revocation and a sentence of imprisonment.

This non-adversarial, court-supervised, treatment approach is a proven success in criminal recidivism related to drug use and drug addiction.  One may ask how the Drug Court team accomplishes these amazing results.  Former First Lady Nancy Reagan coined the phrase: “It takes a village…”.  Well, that is exactly how the Yuma County Drug Court team addresses the problems faced by each of their participants.  The program individualizes treatment based on each participant’s needs and includes cognitive based substance abuse treatment utilizing individual and group counseling sessions.  At times, it is necessary to include in-patient substance abuse treatment, trauma-informed therapy, Moral Reconation Therapy, and a host of other treatment approaches. Drug court also assists its participants with housing assistance, employment assistance and education assistance.  Adult Probation programs such as Work Furlough and Global Positioning System (GPS) are also utilized to maintain accountability in specific instances.  Community partners such as Community Bridges, Inc., Goodwill Industries, Arizona@Work,  Department of Economic Security, North End Community Connections, Crossroads Mission and The Living Center Recovery, are just a few of the resources regularly used by the Drug Court team.  In addition to utilizing the services of these community partners, Drug Court also incorporates positive pro-social activities through the program’s alumni, the Winning Edge Support Team (W.E.S.T.).  W.E.S.T. hosts at least one event per quarter through membership dues and non-profit status fundraising.  These events include an annual recovery softball tournament, intramural soccer game, walk-a-thons, and an annual basketball game against Crossroads Mission at the Yuma Catholic High School.  Through these activities, drug court participants learn to socialize and have fun without the use of alcohol or drugs.  

In celebration, the Yuma County Drug Court Program will hold a graduation ceremony on May 28 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Church for the City located at 3726 East County 13th Street, Yuma.   The event is open to the public and is free of charge.   The event will recognize 13 individuals whose lives have been transformed by the treatment and support provided by the program. With their friends and families in attendance, this graduation will honor men and women who have completed the four primary phases of this intensive program of comprehensive substance use disorder treatment, close supervision and accountability.
So much more can be said about Drug Court in Yuma County.  For more information on this very worthy program, please contact the Drug Court Coordinator, Supervisor Lucia Rodriguez at
(928) 329-2210.  We hope that you can join us!  
Probation Works in Yuma County!

Submitted by:
Frank Silva
Yuma County Adult Probation

Honorable Mention Award For Engineering Support for his ability to exceed expectations with his knowledge and experience in the field of Civil Engineering, and is one of the first employees to take the initiative to learn and use AutoCAD Civil 3D.


Last week, Aztec Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) members traveled to the Westin Resort in Tucson to compete at the Arizona FBLA State Conference. Over the course of three days, students competed in 5 of more than 60 different academic events that cover technology, public speaking, business, finance, management, and more including Chapter Competitions. Over 1,900 students and advisers from more than 100 schools around the State of Arizona were in attendance.

Aztec High School FBLA achieved a Bronze Chapter Status and won 3rd Place Chapter T-shirt, while Diana Ballesteros won 3rd Place for Business Communications.

Every kickball tournament thus far has been a blast, and this time around was no different.  Without everyone’s dedication and team effort, the kickball tournament would not be possible!  Thanks to all, it was a great success! 
Laura Sanchez, Library Assistant I (San Luis Branch Library), has been chosen as the Yuma County Library District’s Employee of the Month for May 2019. This award is to recognize an employee that inspires us with their effort and attitude. Laura received a mounted certificate, a nameplate in the book of her choice, an Employee of the Month pin, and her photo will be hung at the San Luis Branch Library during the month of May.

Congratulations Laura!

Fans of all ages are invited to the Main Library on Saturday, May 4, for the 6th Annual Yuma County LibraryCon! Participate in fan panels, games, crafts, and cosplay from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. All attendees will receive a free comic book (while supplies last). All ages welcome. There is no charge to attend.

2019 Schedule of Events

The Main Library is located at 2951 S 21st Drive. For more information, call (928) 782-1871.

Yuma County Library Comic Con is sponsored by the Friends of Yuma County Libraries, Inc. and
Fan-Quest Comics and Games.

On February 17, 1981, the Yuma County Board of Supervisors approved an intergovernmental agreement between Yuma County and the Parker Area Chamber of Commerce granting a permit for the 1981 Parker 9 Hour Enduro Boat Race to be held March 4-8,1981. The race would take place at Ah Villa Park and the entrance gate was to be staffed by Yuma County employees.  The park permitted no more than 3,800 people and entrance fees per day were $2 for adults and $2 for children over the age of 12 and accompanied by an adult.  At the time, Yuma County leased the premises known as Ah Villa Park from the United States Bureau of Reclamation.  In 1982 when La Paz County split from Yuma County the lease was transferred to La Paz County. Board members were: Robert W. Kennerly (Chairman), Caryl L. Stanley, J. R. Sanders, Ray Moore, and R. Pete Woodard.

Submitted by:
Ginger Hamilton
Yuma County Administration

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