The Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is committed to being proactive in our mission to advocate for public safety, seek justice in criminal cases for victims and those accused, represent the interests of children, and provide effective legal services to Thurston County government, by partnering with local government and community-based organizations. We recognize that today's investments in education, mentoring, and other support services for children and families will yield significant returns in the form of less crime, reduced costs for criminal justice and social services, and an overall improvement in the quality of life for all Thurston County residents.
Investing in Youth
Members of the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office visit local schools to assist with mock trials and speak to classes about the legal process and justice system. Prosecutor Tunheim and our deputy prosecuting attorneys are available to visit classrooms, as their court schedules allow. For more information, educators and administrators should contact the PAO at (360) 786-5540.
It’s an annual tradition for Prosecuting Attorney’s Office members to volunteer with the Thurston County Family Support Center at Camp Hope. Camp Hope is an evidence-based camping and mentoring program for children and youth who have witnessed domestic violence and experienced trauma. Learn more about Camp HOPE Washington.
The Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is accessible to the public through community outreach by way of court tours, educational programs, participation in inter-agency committees, community event attendance and speaking events at conferences, meetings and panels.
Victim advocates and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney’s (DPA) with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office volunteer their time to teach young people and community members about the law and the role of the prosecutor by delivering presentations. Please reach out if you’d like a DPA or victim advocate to visit your community meeting/event or classroom (both virtually and in-person, when safe to do so).
We frequently partner with local academic institutions for projects, including Saint Martin’s University, The Evergreen State College Master of Public Administration Program and South Puget Sound Community College. Educators and administrators are encouraged to reach out to (360)786-5540 to discuss opportunities to partner with our office. Internships are available for both undergraduate and law students.
If you would like to invite a representative of the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to address your organization or academic institution, please contact Community Engagement staff at (360) 786-5540.
The Thurston County Family Justice Center is a collaborative effort of the Family Support Center of South Sound, the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, the Thurston County Sheriff's Office, and the Thurston County Clerk's Office. Deputy prosecuting attorneys from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office help provide clients with access to civil legal support, protection orders, culturally appropriate advocacy, military advocacy, victim support in criminal cases, and other emergency assistance. In addition, safety planning, housing, transportation and translation services are available for non-English speaking clients. Services at the Thurston County Family Justice Center are client driven - designed with the assistance of survivors to ensure the safety and support of other survivors. The top priority is meeting the needs of each survivor and her or his family.
Victim Advocates for the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office provided advocacy services to over 1,260 victims of domestic violence in 2019 at the Family Support Center of South Sound (FSCSS). If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence in Thurston County, please contact the FSCSS at (360) 943-1139 or online.
The Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office co-leads and actively participates in the Thurston County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Task Force, a multi-disciplinary and multi-system-based group working together to prevent sexual and domestic violence in our community. The group is co-chaired by Esmeralda Triplett from SafePlace and Deputy Prosecutor, Noelle Green.
The Task Force includes individuals from law enforcement, the courts, prosecutors, private attorneys, advocates, service providers, health care providers, children's services, adult protective services, youth programs, batterer's intervention programs, first responders, school professionals, businesses and community members.
The goals of the Task Force are to:
- Provide the opportunity for individuals and agencies within our own community to come together on a regular basis to network, learn about services and resources, train each other, identify system gaps and promote collaboration on ending sexual and domestic violence.
- Research/identify, coordinate and promote effective community interventions that minimize domestic violence and sexual assault.
- Influence the systems we work with to produce a continuum of prevention and response that raises standards of care/services for all victims to increase victim safety and perpetrator accountability.
- Promote education and training to community residents, agencies, businesses, schools and other entities to include providing an annual conference or summit in our own community.
- Annually assess our own structure and goals. Serve as a consultant body for review of legislative and policy issues.
- Make ourselves available as an educated body to consult with individuals and/or agencies in order to provide assistance, education and/or support in the overall goal of ending sexual and domestic violence.
Monarch Children's Justice & Advocacy Center is a collaborative effort of the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Providence St. Peter Hospital Sexual Assault Clinic, DSHS/Division of Children's Services, additional community agencies, local law enforcement agencies and private therapists. Child Advocacy Centers work to reduce the incidence and impact of child abuse by providing a coordinated, multidisciplinary response to victims of child abuse and their families. This response includes prevention, investigation, prosecution, and treatment and community partners.
The Monarch multidisciplinary team is changing the way the community responds to child victims of sexual abuse. This multidisciplinary approach offers child victims and their families a place where they can access the help they need to heal emotionally and physically from abuse.
The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis, devastating urban, suburban, and rural communities across the United States. Each day, 115 Americans die from opioid overdose. Between January and June of 2020, 16 members of the Thurston County community died of drug overdoses. Nine of those deaths were linked to opioids.
The Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office supports the use of diversion programs such as First Look and the Thurston County Therapeutic Courts that re-direct eligible defendants suffering from substance use disorder from traditional court processes and potential incarceration, to community-based interventions. Through these alternative options, participants are given the opportunity to receive treatment and community support.
Prosecutor Jon Tunheim co-chairs the Thurston County Opioid Response Task Force with Schelli Slaughter, Director of Thurston County Public Health & Social Services and leads the Law and Justice subcommittee. Through the task force the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office collaborates with local law enforcement, community organizations, members of the public, and other county offices to improve physician prescribing practices, expand access to treatment, prevent overdose deaths by making naloxone, an overdose reversal drug, more available, improve data collection to measure progress and guide strategy, reduce stigma, especially for groups disproportionately at risk, and reduce exposure and impacts for babies, children and parents.
In June 2019, the Thurston County Board of Health formally adopted a Thurston County Opioid Response Plan that is now being implemented by the Task Force and communities across Thurston County.
The Thurston Council Law and Justice Council provides an interjurisdictional forum for consideration of initiatives and resources to improve criminal justice services, enhance public safety, and reduce crime throughout Thurston County.
A former council chair and current vice chair, Prosecutor Tunheim has played an active role on the council since its formation in 2014.
Members of the public are welcome to view Law and Justice Council meetings.
Thurston Thrives is a community initiative designed to improve the health and safety of all people in Thurston County. Using a collective impact framework, Thurston Thrives brings together local jurisdictions, businesses, and nonprofits to find new ways of working together to address our county’s most pressing needs. Thurston Thrives is based upon the model of the social determinants of health—that the conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes.
The core of the work takes place in the Thurston Thrives Action Teams, which combine the expertise of professionals from a variety of sectors to identify strategies and goals through a collaborative approach. These teams work in eight areas, modeled after the social determinants of health. Prosecuting Attorney Jon Tunheim leads the Public Safety and Justice Action Team of the Thurston Thrives Coordinating Council.
As a collaborative network of community partners and leaders, Thurston Thrives creates the platform and leverage to inform regional policies and develop innovative actions; align cross-sector efforts for measurable results; and ensure Thurston County is a healthy and thriving place to live, work and play for current and future generations.
Hope Thurston is an initiative to relate Hope Theory and science to the Thurston Thrives framework and community collective impact. We believe that the future can be better than the present, and that we have the ability to influence that outcome. Hope is a pathway to the goal of community wellness. We seek to understand the desire to thrive and develop strategies to improve hope within individuals and to build a thriving community.
Research tells us that hope is the single best predictor of a person’s ability to thrive and flourish. People who have hope are more productive at work, are higher achievers, attain higher academic success, and are healthier, with lower rates of depression and PTSD.
In fact, when you define hope and start looking at the components of hope, researchers are able to measure hope — hope at individual, organizational, and community levels.
In June 2018, Jon Tunheim shared the concept of Hope-Inspired Communities and led the launch of the Hope Thurston initiative in partnership with Thurston Thrives, Community Foundation of South Puget Sound, Saint Martin’s University, The Evergreen State College, South Puget Sound Community College, Thurston Chamber Foundation and Dr. Chan Hellman from the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, to measure, analyze and establish a Thurston County “Hope Score.” This data will inform the development of strategies to improve social determinants of health in alignment with the Thurston Thrives framework.
The IF Project is a collaborative effort of law enforcement, current and previously incarcerated adults and community partners focused on intervention, prevention and reduction in incarceration and recidivism. The project is built upon–and inspired by–people sharing their personal experiences surrounding the issues of incarceration.
In 2018, the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office partnered with the City of Olympia Police Department, the County Chamber Foundation, Thurston Thrives, Community Youth Services, Young Adult Housing Program, Family Education and Support Services of South Puget Sound, YWCA of Olympia, Justice Not Jails, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Prosecutor’s Office, Public Defense, Juvenile Court, Olympia Police Department, and Olympia City Jail to bring the If Project to Thurston County.