As her first full year as Delaware County prosecutor begins, Melissa Schiffel said her goals for the year include making the office more efficient and improving community and law enforcement partnerships.
Schiffel has been the prosecutor since April 2019. As she heads into her second year in the position, she’s looking to address several of the office’s needs.
“The greatest needs I’ve seen for the office (come from the fact) that we are providing legal advice and prosecuting cases in the fastest-growing county in the state,” Schiffel said. “With growth comes other needs.”
Schiffel said one of the office’s most immediate needs is a new case management system.
“The biggest need I’ve seen is the ability to use technology to our advantage to increase efficiency and better client communications,” she said. “We’ve been operating on a case management system that is more than 10 years old. You can imagine what the population of the county was then. I’m looking to use new technology for a case management system officewide to get us where we need to be as a small- to mid-sized law firm that practices lots of different areas of law.”
Schiffel said she’ll continue to prioritize sending prosecutors to training programs.
“My other goal is investing in our team and continuing what I think is excellent performance by our staff members,” Schiffel said. “Training will help them develop skills and help them develop a specific interest so that if there is a specific type of criminal case that someone wants to specialize in, they have the tools and training they need to do that. If you invest in your staff and they enjoy what they do, it’s an investment for the county and they stay longer.”
Outreach is another priority for Schiffel, who started a regular discussion series titled “Moments with Melissa” on the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office Facebook page. Each episode involves Schiffel discussing a topic related to the community.
“(It) has gotten a lot of great feedback and has been a conversation starter for people,” Schiffel said. “We’re continuing to work with community partners, seeing the holes that our office could fill either with prevention or education, and maybe thinking outside the box.”
Additionally, when Schiffel first took the position last year, she said she’d like to start a summer youth Olympics event. She hopes to make that goal a reality this year.
Schiffel said she’d also like to see more ways the prosecutor’s office can assist local law enforcement.
“There’s lots of ways to partner with law enforcement and support them,” she said. “We already do trainings as they request us, but we’re seeing if there are other ways we can partner with school resource officers to get that message out to our kids.”
Schiffel said nearly a year into the job that she feels “blessed” to be in the position and part of the community.
“I love my job every day,” Schiffel said. “I sincerely mean that, even in the ups and downs and disappointments, I truly love my job and just feel very blessed to serve Delaware County. We have a great staff and a great community. I really feel blessed to be here.”