Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice addressed congregants at in Wantagh Monday evening as part of a special community program designed to educate residents on ways to avoid potential harmful situations.
Following a brief introduction, Rice, a Garden City native who was first elected as Nassau County D.A. in 2005, quickly became acquainted with the group of about 50 people gathered for her presentation. She referred to herself as a “homegrown D.A.” recalling her Long Island upbringing in a large Irish-Catholic family. Rice made clear what her mission was in the county, saying “my job has never been about politics, its always been about trying to be the best D.A. and apply the best law enforcement policies to keep us safe and to protect the most vulnerable among us.”
After giving a short biography, the district attorney got down to business about some of the issues plaguing Nassau County.
“One of the things I really want to focus on, is the most vulnerable people in our communities, and those are the oldest ones and the youngest ones, those are the ones that criminals prey on,” said Rice.
Rice specifically mentioned scams designed to target the elderly over the phone, warning them that, “if it is too good to be true, then it is.”
Rice is also looking to protect the children of the community through awareness. There are programs running in the local high schools to teach children “bad things can happen to you, especially if you make bad decisions.” She mentioned three separate programs: “Choices and Consequences,” which discusses drunk driving; “Stop then Send,” which talks about accountability and the internet; and “Not My Child,” a program designed to teach students, administrators and parents warning signs of drug, or prescription drug abuse.
“These programs are incredibly important because... the biggest part of my job, in my opinion, is not just to prosecute the crime once it happens, but trying to prevent it before it’s happening,” said Rice. “The way that you do that, is by giving people the tools to keep themselves safe, and raising awareness.”