CLARKSVILLE, IN (WAVE) – WAVE Country prosecutors are taking a new step in holding people accountable for crimes on both sides of the Ohio River.
Leaders in Clark, Floyd and Jefferson counties announced the new Kentucky Indiana Prosecutor's Alliance Tuesday afternoon. Each office has already appointed a point person for their respective offices, usually a senior member of the staff that will be ready to begin communications between offices all three counties.
Prosecutors from the three counties said Tuesday they're hopeful this new system will save time, save money and better protect the community.
"I think this is a great idea," Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell said. "You wonder why it hasn't happened before I suppose."
The new alliance between Kentucky and Indiana prosecutors aims to work better together across county and state lines.
"We know that criminal activity doesn't respect geographical boundaries or political boundaries," said Thomas Wine, Commonwealth's attorney for Jefferson County. Wine said his office has already appointed a senior member in the office to serve as their point person and will help monitor communications between the offices in an effort to resolve cases sooner and eliminate cross-jurisdictional delays.
"We'll have communication between those persons about cases that have common defendants, and work out what we think is the best deal for the victims both in Kentucky as well as Indiana," Wine said.
KIPA also aims to impact cases where people are crossing state lines while committing crimes, like in high speed chases.
"The reality is, with the bridges and now the walking bridge, there's a lot of connections between our communities," Wine said. "It only makes sense our prosecutors' offices should be connected as well."
Resolving cases sooner will save taxpayers money by freeing up the court's time. But Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson said he hopes this alliance will grow into more down the road.
"Certainly we'd like to see one day, cross jurisdictional prosecutors that are licensed in both states," Henderson said.
That will take time. For now, Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said this alliance is a step forward toward better protecting communities.
"And this initiative is something that will result in a tangible improvement in the security of those citizens by allowing us to focus our efforts on the most dangerous individuals, the individuals with the most serious cases and doing our best to bring justice to the victims of those individuals and keep the public safe from them," Mull said.
"Whatever benefit we get out of it is going to be more than what we had," Henderson said.
The KIPA alliance will begin immediately.
Prosecutors said Tuesday the idea is new and they don't believe there's programs like it out there, so their model may evolve and change as they learn. But they hope to utilize this in a way that better serves the communities they represent.