Press Releases & Media

Prosecutor Chris Gaal delivers the keynote speech at the Officer of the Year Ceremony for 2013 – May 16, 2013

Monroe County prosecutor’s office partners with IU Police Academy – May 22, 2013

News ReleaseLast modified: Wednesday, May 22, 2013Monroe County prosecutor’s office partners with IU Police Academy

May 22, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana University Police Academy has been training officers for the challenges that await them on the streets for years. Now, the Monroe County prosecutor’s office has teamed up with the academy to provide instruction on criminal law.

Upon graduation from the IU Police Academy, the newly certified officers, who are full-time IU students, will work as police officers for the IU Police Department on seven campuses of Indiana University. Upon graduation from the university, these officers will further their careers in law enforcement in Indiana or may advance to the federal level. Several of the officers who currently work at the Bloomington Police Department, the IUPD and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department started their careers with the IU Police Academy.

“Our cadets are fortunate to have this opportunity to receive legal instruction from prosecutors with years of real-world experience handling serious cases,” said IUPD Capt. Greg Butler, who oversees the IU Police Academy program. “This partnership ensures the highest quality of instruction. We appreciate them volunteering time to teach this class.”

The criminal law class will be taught by first deputy prosecutor Jeff Kehr, senior trial deputy prosecutor Geoffrey Bradley and deputy juvenile prosecutor Rich Hansen. It also will include special presentations from sex crimes deputy prosecutor Darcie Fawcett, domestic violence deputy prosecutor Jackie Dakich and drug crimes deputy prosecutor Erika Oliphant.

Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal began the presentations by addressing this year’s class of new cadets on “The Role of the Prosecutor,” including topics such as the use of prosecutorial discretion in charging decisions, professional ethics and testifying in court.

“Our office interacts with police officers from different law enforcement agencies on a daily basis,” Gaal said. “We see the benefits from the training and professionalism instilled by the academy, so we are glad to participate in this program.”

In addition to classroom training, instructors from the prosecutor’s office are planning field exercises to simulate issues often faced by officers on the street. Cadets will be asked to apply legal standards to these real-world situations.

“Through interactive discussion, examples from our own experiences handling cases and field exercises, we hope to make this material really come alive for the students,” Kehr said.

Domestic Violence Prosecution Training Held in Bloomington – May 24, 2013

May 24, 2013
For More Information, contact:
Chris Gaal, Office of the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney, 812-349-2670
Or visit


Bloomington, Indiana – The Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council (IPAC) will hold a domestic violence trial advocacy training at the Monroe County Convention Center June 3-5. The program was developed for deputy prosecutors from around the State of Indiana who specialize in handling domestic violence cases and will be hosted by Monroe County Prosecutor Chris Gaal.

The training is designed to help improve trial advocacy skills by requiring participants to present a practice case which includes issues that typically arise in the context of domestic violence. Each deputy’s trial practice will then be critiqued by advanced trial advocacy trainers. The program will also include a practical discussion of policy issues common to handling domestic violence cases.

Scheduled topics include:

• Cross-examination of victims
• Direct examination of an expert witness to help explain victim behavior
• Group discussion on charging policy
• Guilty pleas, sentencing and Batterer Intervention Programs
• Defining the prosecutor’s role in domestic violence cases (a process-oriented approach)
• Jury selection in a domestic violence case

“We are honored to host this training on trial advocacy skills in Bloomington for deputy prosecutors from around the state who handle domestic violence cases,” said Gaal. Gaal currently serves as chair of the IPAC Board of Directors, and on the IPAC Elder, Delinquency, Domestic Violence and Sex Crimes Committee.

Since taking on his role as IPAC Executive Director two years ago, David Powell has made trial advocacy training a top priority for the organization and has increased focus on issues such as domestic violence. “It is up to us to share the knowledge and skills of our more experienced prosecutors with the newer generation of younger attorneys now coming up through the ranks,” said Powell. “This trial advocacy course is another important step in that direction, as we all work together against domestic violence.”

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Prosecutor’s Office Announces New Website – June 3, 2013

June 3, 2013
For More Information, contact:
Chris Gaal, Office of the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney, (812) 349-2670


mcpss3Bloomington, Indiana – Over the past several years the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office has developed a series of new public safety resources, along with important crime prevention and education initiatives. Now those programs have been clearly organized and made easily accessible to the public on a newly-designed website. The comprehensive new site also features fresh information, including easily navigable Frequently Asked Questions, imbedded “You Tube” videos, and other multimedia content.

“Times have changed,” says Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal. “It’s not enough for a government agency to list an email address and phone number. Nowadays, people expect a professional looking website that offers high-quality and well-organized information.”

Now the public will be able to easily access detailed content about each of the many programs run by the Prosecutor’s Office; such as Adult Protective Services, Child Support, Pretrial and Infraction Diversion, Check Deception, the Victims Assistance Program, the Sex Crimes Unit, the Domestic Violence Unit, and the Mental Health Review Team.

Main menu tabs for Criminal Justice, Prevention & Education, Victim Assistance Program, the Child Support Division, and Law Enforcement Resources, each provide dropdown menus that organize content into clear topic areas.

For example, Prevention & Education topics include:

• Child Abuse
• Crimes Against the Elderly
• Domestic Violence
• Dropout Prevention
• Get a Ride! Drunk Driving Prevention
• Latino Outreach/Alcanze a Latinos
• Pharmaceutical Safe Disposal Program
• Sexual Assault

“There are many exciting new features for users to discover browsing the website,” describes Gaal. “I invite people to have a look around and explore the contents.”

Featured fresh content includes a new prevention initiative designed to encourage victims/friends to come forward and report domestic violence. The Victim Assistance Program menu links to a comprehensive list of helpful local community resources. Adult Protective Services now includes an Online Confidential Report form for people to report an endangered adult to investigators. The Child Support page now includes email links for directly contacting caseworkers, along with mug shots of its “Most Wanted.” Several pages include public service announcements and video messages from the prosecutor explaining the various programs.

Explore the new prosecutor website at

State funding needed to make reform work – December 10, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

By Linda Brady, Chris Gaal and Matt Pierce Special to the H-T

This guest column was written by Linda Brady, Monroe County chief probation officer; Chris Gaal, Monroe County prosecuting attorney, and Matt Pierce, Ind. Rep., District 61, Bloomington.

The Legislature comprehensively rewrote Indiana’s criminal laws for the first time in 40 years. Gone are the familiar Class A–D felonies, replaced by Level 1-6 felonies. The new law resulted from nearly five years of study and work by a commission of legislators, judges, prosecutors, public defenders and other law enforcement professionals and received bipartisan support in the Legislature.

Through our various involvements in state government, we participated in efforts to improve the criminal code. Rep. Matt Pierce helped draft the bill, and serves with probation chief Linda Brady on the committee designated to propose any additional changes before the law goes into effect on July 1, 2014. Chris Gaal serves on the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council board of directors and was president during 2012-13 while the new law was debated.

The Legislature considered how to best promote public safety, ensure that sentences are proportionate and provide victims with greater certainty about the time offenders will actually serve.

The state’s new crime fighting strategy intends to isolate violent offenders in prison for longer sentences — the murderers and child molesters who are a threat to society. Meanwhile low-level, nonviolent offenders will be placed in community-based programs that focus on the underlying causes of criminal behavior, often drug addictions or mental illness.

A driving force behind the reform process was concern that Indiana was spending too much on prisons when less costly community programs could provide better outcomes for low-level repeat felony offenders. Breaking the cycle of recidivism for this demographic is necessary to both promote public safety and control correctional costs.

Proven evidence-based rehabilitation and treatment programs could significantly reduce the number of repeat offenders by treating the root causes of their criminal activity.

While this approach to fighting crime makes sense, it will not work unless the state provides funding to ensure that services are available for the influx of offenders being diverted from state prisons to county programs. However, disagreements over funding have caused key legislators to delay significant new appropriations.

Fortunately, Monroe County is in a better position than most to deal with the impact. Over the years, we have developed many of the resources touted by experts as necessary to reduce recidivism. Our community corrections and probation department already provide many proven rehabilitation programs — such as our award-winning drug court.

In many ways, Monroe County is the progressive model that the state would like to encourage. Many of our lower level felony offenders are already treated locally through problem-solving courts and evidence-based programs.

However, we will also feel the strain if the law is implemented without significant new funding from the state. Without it, the county budget is unlikely to meet increased local demands for additional justice programming.

Many other local communities simply lack the resources necessary to address the treatment needs of felony offenders diverted from state prisons.

To be truly smart on crime and control costs over the long run, the Legislature must provide the funds necessary to support evidence-based rehabilitation programs throughout the state as local communities deal with the influx of low-level felony offenders. Otherwise, Indiana will likely reduce the amount spent on state prisons at the cost of driving up local expenses and undermining safety as these felons continue to re-offend in their communities.

Many legislators and stakeholders involved in the process are well aware of how critical local funding is to success.

We now need the fiscal leaders of the Legislature to step up and make the state a full partner with local communities in this effort to reduce crime and improve the lives of our fellow citizens.

Prosecutors Address Needs of Indiana’s Endangered Adults – September 16, 2015

Prosecutors Address Needs of Indiana’s Endangered Adults

INDIANAPOLIS (September 16, 2015) – Three Indiana prosecutors addressed the legislature’s Interim Study Committee on Corrections and Criminal Code concerning protection of endangered adults.

Today in Indiana, the state is divided into 18 multiple-county hub Adult Protection Services units led by one prosecuting attorney in each hub. Hub prosecutors Karen Richards of Allen County, Chris Gaal of Monroe County and Patrick Harrington of Tippecanoe County described the services they provide, as well as the needs of endangered adults that could be better met with sufficient staff, including additional investigators, data intake clerks, follow-up monitors and deputy prosecutors.

“Indiana is in a unique position,” said Allen County’s Karen Richards, “because prosecuting attorneys run Adult Protection Services hubs.” The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) is the funding source for the hubs. “There are presently 27.5 investigators and 18 hubs directors – many of whom work as investigators,” she said. “These individuals respond to 40,000 calls in the state, 10,000 of which calls result in a full investigation.”

“The entire state’s budget appropriation of $2.4 million for APS is roughly half of the amount budgeted by Marion County for animal care and control ($4.2 million),” she said.

Added Monroe County’s Chris Gaal, “Indiana’s APS program is overworked, understaffed and underfunded.” He listed four areas that need to be addressed to meet APS needs in the state:

• Insufficient staff, particularly investigators who serve as APS’ “boots on the ground.”
• Lack of services for emergency placement of endangered adults.
• Lack of uniformity in response to needs, some of which would be solved by a standard operating procedure training manual once adequate staff resources are in place.
• No built-in potential for growth of services that will be required by the approaching “silver tsunami” as today’s baby boomers age.

Patrick Harrington of Tippecanoe County testified, “This is the generation that trusts people and this makes them a victim of those who would take advantage.” Additional needs are access to psychiatrists, assisted living facilities and training across agencies. He also urged that a permanent study committee on adult protection services be formed to create 1, 3 and 5-year budget plans and to review budget needs prior to each legislative budget session.
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Media contact: Connie Smith, Public Affairs Officer, 317-233-3923,
About the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council: The IPAC is a non-partisan, independent state judicial branch that supports Indiana’s 91 prosecuting attorneys and their chief deputies. It is governed by a 10-member board of directors of elected prosecuting attorneys. The IPAC assists prosecuting attorneys in the preparation of manuals, legal research and training seminars. It serves as a liaison to local, state, and federal agencies, study commissions, and community groups in an effort to support law enforcement and promote the fair administration of justice.

Indiana Prosecutors Hone Courtroom Skills – September 29, 2015

Indiana Prosecutors Hone Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault Courtroom Skills
(BLOOMINGTON) September 29, 2015 – Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal welcomed nearly two dozen Indiana prosecutors and deputy prosecutors to Bloomington as they begin three days of specialized training to prosecute domestic violence and sexual assault cases. A third day of training will include nurse examiners and domestic violence experts as the trainees practice investigative and courtroom scenarios.
“This training is designed to help you develop your expertise and skills and to become better prosecutors in handling these types of challenging cases,” Prosecutor Gaal told the attendees. “You will have an opportunity not only to hear from subject matter experts… but to hone your skills of presentation and persuasion.”
Gaal serves on the Elder, Delinquency, Domestic Violence, and Sex Crimes Committee of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council (IPAC) along with Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Karen Richards (chairman), Delaware County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Arnold, Dubois County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Cheryl Hillenburg, Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Woodward and Putnam County Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Bookwalter.
Prosecutor Gaal thanked the individuals who planned the training agenda and particularly acknowledged the efforts of Course Director Suzanne O’Malley, Deputy Director of IPAC, who was assisted by numerous volunteers and experts in domestic violence and sexual assault.
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Media contact: Connie Smith, Public Affairs Officer, 317-233-3923,

About the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council: The IPAC is a non-partisan, independent state judicial branch agency that supports Indiana’s 91 prosecuting attorneys and their chief deputies. It is governed by a 10-member board of directors of elected prosecuting attorneys. The IPAC assists prosecuting attorneys in the preparation of manuals, legal research and training seminars. It serves as a liaison to local, state, and federal agencies, study commissions, and community groups in an effort to support law enforcement and promote the fair administration of justice.