“She was able to accomplish in less than a year; 11 months, what no one else had been able to accomplish in 25 years,” said Judge Edward Shae.
RICHLAND, Wash. — A long process of almost twenty-five years to get a staffed U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Tri-Cities.
Since District Court Judge Edward Shea took the bench in 1998, he’s been advocating for Richland’s unstaffed office to have full-time staff.
“When I saw that there was a U.S. Probation Office here, there was a Clerk’s Office here. I thought ‘Why isn’t there a U.S. Attorney’s Office here?’” Said Judge Shea.
It wasn’t going to happen, until U.S. Attorney Vanessa Waldref entered the scene.
“She was able to accomplish in less than a year; 11 months, what no one else had been able to accomplish in 25 years,” he continued.
Judge Shea said no matter what they tried, they were unsuccessful. Waldref, who was sworn in by the U.S. Senate just one year ago, got it done.
“By maintaining an office in Richland, the U.S. Attorneys can do their important work with more impact and intention, while responding to the ever changing needs and priorities of the community,” said Judge Salvador J. Mendoza with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
A more streamlined and efficient job for Eastern Washington U.S. Attorneys
This also means the process of working on large and impactful federal cases can be streamlined and much more effective. Before now, attorneys had to come from the main branch in Spokane, or the branch in Yakima.
“It means less time stopping in Ritzville for coffee prior to getting here. It allows for that conversation to happen across the hallway versus over the phone or via zoom,” said Kennewick Police Chief Chris Guerrero.
“We are still hitting the road. We’re not afraid to jump in the car and travel to where we need to be. But this is really going to be an efficient, effective use of our resources to be able to focus our resources right here in the Tri-Cities,” U.S. Attorney Waldref said.
Two Assistant United States Attorneys will be working from Richland, a feat the Courts are more than excited about, because the space has been there…it’s just been unstaffed.
“This is not like a new attorney’s office that’s opening in Richland, just down the street. This is something that’s an enhancement and we’re very fortunate to have here,”
Being able to properly staff a staffed office with the tools that we need to be able to effectively bring our cases is going to be so beneficial.
Because of recent growth in our region, this expansion was seen as less of an addition and more of a necessity.
This office will serve Benton, Franklin and Walla Walla Counties, and the office is now looking for applicants.
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