District Attorney Larry Morse met with a big crowd of supporters last week during a campaign fundraiser at the Italo American Lodge in Merced.
The event served as an update of progress made over the past four years to make Merced County a better, safer place.
Morse gave updates on the Violence Interruption/Prevention Emergency Response or VIPER program; the School Attendance Review Board, or SARB; the Court Appointed Special Advocates program or CASA, and the latest SmartWater strategy to combat rural theft.
“We are on the right track,” Morse said. “We have reduced the homicide rate in Merced County by more than half in the last two years, and reduced by two-thirds the number of gang-related shootings.”
Morse also pointed out his efforts to work with local educators, such as Superintendent Steve Tietjen, to graduate as many high school students as possible. He said kids who drop out of high school are eight times more likely to be incarcerated than high school graduates.
“High school graduation rates are up nearly 10 percent over the last decade. Nearly 90 percent of our high school students graduated last year — the highest total ever. That’s good for public safety and our longterm economy.”
Morse also said he was proud of having a productive working relationship with Sheriff Vern Warnke.
“He has been a critical partner in attacking the gang violene, and this week we unveiled a new program called SmartWater that the Farm Bureau and we believe will dramtically reduce ag theft in Merced County.”