A $20,000 grant awarded to the Utah County attorney's office to help crime victims is too little, too late, according to C. Robert Collins, Democratic candidate for county attorney.
This is the first grant Utah County pursued, although $2 million in grant monies has been available to Utah counties over the past four years, Collins said."It is great that we finally got a $20,000 grant out of the $2 million available to date, but I am concerned that for the past four years the second-largest county government in the state has received only one such grant," Collins said.
"The Utah County attorney's office ought to be actively pursuing that money," he said.
But Craig Madsen, county criminal justice division chief, said the county has programs in place to assist victims even without the grant. He said Collins' allegations that the county is doing little to help victims are "ridiculous."
Examples of the kinds of assistance the county gives victims include notifying them of their rights and services available, offering a restitution order program and, in cases involving children, contacting the victim at his or her home or out of the attorney's offices, Madsen said.
"Either he (Collins) is willfully misrepresenting the truth or he doesn't understand what's going on in the (county attorney's) office," Madsen said.
Collins also faulted the county attorney's office for not yet making use of the $20,000 grant, which it was awarded in July.
"Existence of the grant was not even made public until after I made victims a campaign issue," he said.
The county must use the grant by June 1991 or it will expire, Collins said.
Madsen said the grant was "written with too much program and not enough product" and is being revised.
The money will be split among several areas, including contacting crime victims about available services, victim reparations, providing assistance to the juvenile court, coordinating case tracking efforts, improving communication among agencies and maintaining address lists of victims to be notified about parole hearings.
"I wish he'd (Collins) say what it is he wants to do," Madsen said. "Everything he says we don't do is in place and operating . . . and we're trying to improve it."