Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA) Project
The SAUSA Project of the Treasure Valley Partnership was developed in an effort to combat gang, gun and drug crimes in the Treasure Valley, Idaho.It is a collaborative effort involving the Partnership members, the State, Canyon County and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to house a federal prosecutor for the purposes of federally prosecuting, gang, gun, and drug crimes in the Treasure Valley.
The project has had reach far beyond the boundaries of Treasure Valley. Individuals from Blaine, Jerome, Gooding, Owyhee, Payette, Twin Falls and Washington Counties have been prosecuted under the SAUSA Project.
In the 47 months since the Project officially began, there have been some major accomplishments.
· 166 Federal Indictments have been issued.
· 127 individuals have been sentenced to Federal Prison.
· Average sentence per individual is 45.3 months
· 93% of those indicted are convicted and sentenced
· Individuals have been indicted from 11 different Counties and 24 different Cities in Southern Idaho and Oregon.
· Total time sentenced in Federal prison is 479 years.
·Convicted individuals are sent to Federal Prison outside of Idaho.
· Violent gang related crime has decreased significantly. For example, in the City of Caldwell alone, drive-by shootings have went from 78 in 2006 to just 4 for all of 2009.
· State taxpayers have realized an estimated savings of nearly $10 million to date.
· The State of Idaho has funded the SAUSA Project at a rate of $25,000/year.
· Current State funding is passed through the Idaho State Department of Corrections.
· The Treasure Valley Partnership has funded the SAUSA Project at a rate of $75,000/year.
· The SAUSA Project utilizes cooperative agreements with Canyon County and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to implement the required prosecutorial authority.
· The SAUSA Project employee’s wages are paid through Canyon County and he/she receives benefits as a County employee.
· The U.S. Attorney’s Office provides all overhead for the position including office space and support staff.
The SAUSA Project idea initially started during a meeting of several Treasure Valley Partnership members and then Governor Kempthorne in the fall of 2005.During the November 2005 meeting of the Partnership, Tom Moss, the U.S. Attorney for Idaho described the SAUSA mechanism and the Partnership voted to pursue developing the idea.
In January of 2006, Ada/Canyon County Prosecutors, the Idaho Governor’s Office, U.S. Attorney’s Office and members of the Partnership met to begin the process of discussing the nuances of putting together the project. At the time, the U.S. Attorney’s Office estimated that the SAUSA would be able to prosecute 20-25 individuals a year. A job description was developed and the nuances associated with employing this individual were explored. Because of prosecutorial rules and needs, it was decided the individual would have to have a host organization of either a County or the State. In addition, liability insurance coverage was decided as a need to keep the hosting organization from realizing risk to the activity.
Memorandum’s of understanding between the Partnership, the State, Owyhee County and the U.S. Attorney’s Office were developed and finalized over the summer of 2006.In addition, a position description and the job description were hammered out.In the fall of 2006, recruitment began for the SAUSA Position and work began work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office on February 7, 2007.