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Coconino County Attorney Bill Ring has announced that he intends to run for his second term in the November 2020 election.

The position of Coconino County Attorney entails leading, overseeing and hiring lawyers to act as state prosecutors and involves overseeing case strategy from the county attorney’s office in downtown Flagstaff. The county attorney holds a civil division and counsels special districts within the county like the jail, flood control and fire districts.

The county attorney also decides what charges to accuse a suspect with based on presented evidence from sheriff and police investigations. After a grand jury accepts the charges against suspects, prosecutors follow court procedure, filing motions and attending hearings, until the case is closed.

The Coconino County Attorney’s Office employs 46 people including 22 attorneys and 24 support staff.

Ring believes his term of experience strengthens his ability to run for the position again.

“I’m running on my record of leadership and public safety, which is a promise I’ve made and kept," Ring said to the Daily Sun. "And I’m running to complete the work I’ve started toward an ever better community.”

Ring had originally delayed announcing his intent to run as he was tapped for the seat of late Flagstaff judge Jon W. Thompson of the Arizona Court of Appeals. His application moved into the final four applicants, but he was not chosen in the end.

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But now, Ring has begun collecting signatures for his nomination petition and hopes to submit his petition to appear on the ballot in April 2020.

“It is my honor to serve the people and advocate for justice,” Ring said of his current position as county attorney.

Ring suggested that if elected to a second term, he would like to continue working on mental health diversion practices.

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By diverting cases with relevant mental health issues away from the normal criminal justice pipeline, more space is created for prosecuting serious offenses, Ring said. Additionally, by creating a specialized lane for cases with sensitive mental health issues, the county can begin to reduce recidivism among communities in need.

The mental health recovery court is a project being worked on by many members of the county, including the superior court judges and county officials. Ring supports the model and believes it would save time and tax dollars.

“It is a best practice to focus prosecution upon those individuals who do the most harm,” Ring said.

Ring serves as Arizona’s state representative to the National District Attorneys Association in Washington, D.C. He is president of the Arizona County Attorneys Association and a board member of the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys Advisory Council.

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Scott Buffon can be reached at sbuffon@azdailysun.com, on Twitter @scottbuffon or by phone at (928) 556-2250.

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