Patrick's top priority as Attorney General will be to aggressively target violent criminals and get them off the street. That means making sure that law enforcement officials have the tools they need to fight crime - arming them with state-of-the-art equipment, advanced communications capability and the latest DNA technology.
Patrick understands that nothing is more critical to public safety than the law enforcement officials on the front lines in our communities. That's why he fought for full funding of the Community Oriented Police Services (COPS) Program and the Byrne-Justice Assistance Grants, initiatives that gave local police departments the ability to add thousands of officers over the past several decades.
Fighting Drugs and Gangs
The growth of gang activity and the prevalence of illegal drug trafficking in communities across Pennsylvania tears apart our neighborhoods and increases the likelihood of violent crime. We need to pay special attention to the threat posed by gang violence and drug trafficking.
As a prosecutor, Patrick tried and convicted drug offenders. As a Congressman, he provided law enforcement with the resources to address these growing problems. Through programs like the Bucks County Security Threat Group, Patrick empowered local police officers to combat gang violence with enforcement, education and prevention of organized crime.
Patrick also supported the Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) program, a national program that includes a regional intelligence center in Pennsylvania. The center provides information sharing, analytical support and training for local law enforcement. The initiative is critical in targeting gangs, drug trafficking and possible terrorist activities because they often span several states or jurisdictions. Information sharing and cooperation among multiple jurisdictions is critical to effective law enforcement, and as Attorney General, Patrick will make sure that departments and agencies work together to protect Pennsylvania. Better coordination and cooperation will allow us to fully utilize the resources available to protect Pennsylvanians.
Preventing Violence Against Women
In 2008, more than 165,000 women in the United States were raped or sexually assaulted, either by a stranger, acquaintance or intimate partner. And those are just the crimes that were reported. That same year, less than half of all rapes and sexual assaults were reported to law enforcement. These numbers are heartbreaking, staggering and totally unacceptable. Patrick helped prevent deep budget cuts for domestic violence and rape crisis services, and fought for millions of dollars to expand programs that help prevent violence against women and assist victims of domestic and sexual abuse, so that victims know they have a safe place to turn. As Attorney General, Patrick will go after these dangerous predators by making state-wide DNA databasing more efficient and fighting for the resources necessary to catch these criminals and put them behind bars.
Protecting Our Children
With the use of online social networking sites and smart phones becoming more and more common, it becomes increasingly difficult to track who our kids are talking to and what information criminals can exploit. The threat posed by these new and constantly changing technologies requires law enforcement to be innovative and aggressive. That's why Patrick voted for a law that requires sex offenders to provide the National Sex Offender Registry any email address or screen name they use to identify themselves on the Internet. Social networking sites like Facebook can then access that information to screen new and existing users. These are common sense steps that shield our children from online sexual predators, and Patrick will work to strengthen these efforts and the prosecution of sexual predators through the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit.
Standing Up for Seniors
Financial exploitation and fraud costs senior citizens $2.6 billion each year, but more than that, it can cost them their independence. With the increasing complexity of financial products and with more seniors using email and the Internet, the problem continues to grow and must be stopped. Patrick believes we need to do more to protect seniors from losing their savings, pensions, or even their homes because of these abusive predators. He will crack down on those who prey on our most vulnerable citizens. Many seniors have been scammed by trusted "financial advisers" who presented fake or misleading credentials. To protect seniors, Patrick created the Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans, which will educate seniors on how to identify scams and strengthen oversight over financial advisers so that seniors know who they are dealing with. As Attorney General, Patrick will build on this record and make protecting seniors from financial or physical abuse a top priority.
Cracking Down on Public Corruption
People across Pennsylvania, and across the country, have lost faith in our government. They've heard too many stories about elected officials misusing taxpayer dollars or violating the oaths they swore to uphold our Constitution. Patrick believes that government can only be effective if it has the trust of the people it represents. As an outsider to Harrisburg, he will aggressively prosecute corruption no matter where it happens and begin restoring trust in the institutions that represent the people of Pennsylvania. The people of Pennsylvania deserve a government as good and decent as they are, and Patrick will fight tirelessly to that end.