It comes down to trust

And building a connection with people

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 6/17/20

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Meagan Galligan believes in community.

A lifelong county resident, Galligan is part of four generations of family in public service, and now, “I want to continue …

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It comes down to trust

And building a connection with people

Posted

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Meagan Galligan believes in community.

A lifelong county resident, Galligan is part of four generations of family in public service, and now, “I want to continue my good work, in victim support [and as a] children’s advocate.”

So, she’s running for Sullivan County District Attorney on the Democratic, Conservative and Independence Party lines, and facing retired judge Frank LaBuda in the Republican primary on Tuesday, June 23. 

She is a magna cum laude graduate of NYU and got her law degree from Georgetown. 

A job as ADA followed. She became chief ADA in 2016 and then was sworn in as acting DA in 2020. 

During her years with the district attorney’s office, Galligan has written numerous grants. One established a victim advocate in the office, providing critical support for those who are afraid the system won’t care about them.

She has also been involved with the Family Violence Response Team. In it, the D.A.’s office, county law enforcement and social workers combine efforts to protect children from physical and sexual abuse. She also secured funding for a one-stop children’s health center.

Family issues aside, the county is facing other problems that Galligan wants to tackle.

Sullivan County is home to three prisons. Galligan points out that, “We need to keep corrections officers safe... We have these guys who work every day in conditions that are extremely stressful... and dangerous,” she said. 

Privacy is a concern going forward, especially as contact tracing is debated, and Galligan cites her work on search warrants and wiretapping. She reviews all search warrants before they go to a judge. “I’m one of very few prosecutors who has headed a wiretapping investigation,” she said. “They have been extremely useful tools, but it takes a year of work to create the base of evidence needed to justify a wiretap... I bring a depth of knowledge to this.”

But the issue she brings up the most is working with the community. It underlies all the work she wants to do.

“Our police officers are local. They’re invested. These are the kinds of relationships that can stem violent crime... We want to prevent crime before it starts.” So the first step is to work with the community and encourage communication.

 Then, when a situation happens, the cops who show up know everyone involved. They know families. They know the backstory. And if they don’t know what’s going on, the people in the community do. 

“If the community has insight on what’s happening, I want to hear what they have to say,” she said. 

It all comes down to trust, she says. That people will learn the police and the district attorney are there to protect them. And “the DA works to be worthy of that trust.” 

Galligan has been endorsed by the Democrats, the Republicans, the Conservatives and the Independence Party. “It’s a great honor,” she said.

But, she added, “really, the best endorsement is when you go into the community and hear that they trust you.”

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