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Sun, Jan. 26

Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk selected for Criminal Justice Award

Sheila Polk

Sheila Polk

The Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys' Advisory Council Chair and Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk will receive the 2012 Arizona State Bar Michael C. Cudahy Criminal Justice Award.

Ms. Polk will receive the award at the Arizona State Bar Convention Friday, June 22, at the Annual Convention at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. Bestowed by the State Bar Board of Governors, the award recognizes "that criminal law prosecutor who, during his or her career, has worked tirelessly to advance the principles of criminal justice by representing the public's interest with integrity, fairness, tenacity, creativity, brilliance and above all, professionalism."

Named for the late Michael C. Cudahy, with whom Polk practiced at the Arizona Attorney General's Office in the late 1990s, this award "highlights the APAAC by linking the prosecution careers of these two role models of dedication to the administration of justice and public safety," said Elizabeth Ortiz, Executive Director. "Training prosecutors is a primary APAAC function; with Ms. Polk's leadership, young prosecutors do not have to go far to see where those lessons will take them."

Polk, an Arizona State University College of Law graduate, is currently serving her third term as Yavapai County Attorney. Polk oversees a $6.5 million budget and 85 employees who prosecute felony misdemeanor and juvenile cases and provide legal counsel to county departments. Polk remains an active prosecutor handling major felonies and financial elder abuse; recently she prosecuted the James Arthur Ray "sweat lodge"' case.

In addition to Chairing APAAC, she is the Vice President of Prevent Child Abuse-Arizona, and Co-Chair/founding member of MATForce (Yavapai County Substance Abuse Coalition). Since 2006, Polk has developed nationally disseminated ethical leadership programs with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington D.C. and the Greater Prescott Jewish Community Foundation based on "Lessons from the Holocaust." Along with Cottonwood City Manager Doug Bartosh, Ms. Polk is personally training every law enforcement officer and prosecutor in Yavapai County in "What You Do Matters: Lessons from the Holocaust." She is the immediate past president of the Arizona County Attorneys and Sheriffs Association.

APAAC's mission is to empower Arizona's prosecutors to administer justice and contribute to public safety through training and advocacy..

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