POLK ANNOUNCES HER RETIREMENT AFTER 22 YEARS AS YAVAPAI COUNTY ATTORNEY
- Sheila Polk has been the Yavapai County Attorney for 22 years
- She has had many impacts on the local community
- She was one of the founders of MATForce
- She developed the nationwide “Lessons from the Holocaust” ethics course
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Polk has 40 Years In Public Service
Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk has announced her retirement, effective December 31, 2022. “It has been an incredible honor to serve as the elected Yavapai County Attorney for the last 22 years, and the seven years prior as a deputy Yavapai County Attorney,” said Polk. “I am looking forward to the next phase of my life that will allow me more time with family, and the opportunity to volunteer more in my community and pursue my recreational interests.”
Polk’s career in government public service in Arizona spans forty years. She graduated from Arizona State University College of Law in 1982, clerked at the Arizona Supreme Court for one year for Justice Jack D.H. Hays, then joined the Arizona Attorney General’s Office where she worked for the next eleven years. In 1994, she and her husband moved their young family to Prescott where she has worked ever since in the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office. In 2000, she was elected to the position of Yavapai County Attorney.
Polk stated, “Over my 22 years as County Attorney, I have been privileged to work with outstanding public servants who strive to do what is best for the people we serve. I have led an office that excels in quality, seeks justice for all, and models the core values of ethics, excellence, respect, opportunities for growth, and work-life balance. I am proud of our work and the important role we perform in maintaining a low crime rate and a high quality of life in Yavapai County.”
During her administration, Polk helped to establish Early Disposition Court; partnered with PANT, the countywide multi-agency drug task force, to apprehend and aggressively prosecute traffickers of dangerous drugs such as methamphetamine and fentanyl; formed the office’s Diversion Program to hold low level offenders accountable while giving them a second chance at a crime-free lifestyle; supported the county’s therapeutic courts including veterans’ court and drug court; created a public-facing website to provide accessible data regarding criminal cases (https://yavapaiaz.gov/coatty/Case-Statistics-Welcome); transitioned the County Attorney’s Office to a paperless environment; and, most recently, implemented a remote work option to attract and retain top quality employees for the office.
“I have had many rewarding opportunities throughout my career,” said Polk. “Among the highlights are my work as a founding member and chair of MATFORCE, the Yavapai County Substance Abuse Coalition, and our focus on the prevention of substance abuse; my leadership and collaboration to develop and teach law enforcement officers and prosecutors nationwide an ethics course titled “What You Do Matters: Lessons from the Holocaust;” and my roles as chair of the statewide Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Council and the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission where I have had the opportunity to advocate for tough and fair criminal justice policies statewide.”
On a more personal note, Polk said, “I will always value my role as lead prosecutor in the criminal trial against James Ray, a self-help guru who caused the death of three of his followers, and our office’s success in enjoining retailers throughout Yavapai County through a public nuisance lawsuit from selling dangerous synthetic drugs called “bath salts” and “spice.”
“It truly has been a pleasure to serve alongside the outstanding men and women in law enforcement, the legal system, and government in this state for the past forty years,” stated Polk.
Polk’s complete resume can be found on the Yavapai County Attorney’s website at:https://yavapaiaz.gov/Portals/29/SheilaPolkBio.pdf.