Public Safety, communication and respect were the tenets of my working relationship with District Attorney Matt Van Houten. He is a true public servant, and by far, the best choice for candidate, to continue the hard work of serving as your District Attorney for Tompkins County.
During my administration as City of Ithaca Police Chief, I saw firsthand Matt’s focus on relationship building. He was an instrumental part of a team that worked for increased interagency cooperation and communication, partnering with the DA’s Office, State Police, Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office and the IPD, as well as both of our College Police Departments. As a result, we were all able to more efficiently function and streamline procedures. D.A. Van Houten played a big role in those efforts.?
With regards to our approach to the criminal justice system, Matt and I shared the same mindset of progressiveness and safety. When Chief Barber retired, he asked me to, and I agreed to continue our department’s efforts with the creation of the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program, diverting those who struggle with drug issues. Matt and our team attended multiple policy meetings and I quickly came to realize Matt’s ability to effectively work with both the community and law enforcement towards that goal. His office, working through many challenges, is continuing that effort, and committed to see that vision come to fruition.?
Drug Court, as many know it, is another way that Matt’s talented team showed progressive initiative while never taking his eyes off of public safety. I feel confident that if he is involved, many other programs that are geared towards a balance of public safety and common sense, will be successful and ultimately help many in our community.
In a perfect world, communication should always?flow both ways, however in my professional experience this has not always been the case. From day one however. D.A Van Houten displayed that rare exception. If I called, he picked up, no matter what time of day or night, and I gladly did the same for him. This was critical in the success of many serious incidents that required a collective team approach. Matt always respectfully listened to my or our teams input,?and I listened to his with an open mind.?We didn't always agree, but we engaged in respectful, productive dialogue.?That’s exactly the professionalism and humble character we need in a District Attorney and in my experience, Matt certainly has demonstrated it throughout his tenure.
Matt is always good to work with, has the professional experience needed for the position and I know how deeply he cares about our community. Most importantly, he is fair and will take the time to listen to everyone, regardless of the situation. He will certainly have my vote and has my deepest respect and confidence for the remarkable job he has done, and know he will continue to do in the uniquely challenging position as the District Attorney of our county.
Pete Tyler, retired Ithaca City Police Chief