The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors publicly recognized Sheila Polk and thanked her for more than 28 years of public service Jan. 4 at the County Administration Building.
Polk retired after serving 22 years as county attorney.
Her career in public services began more than 40 years ago. Following graduation from law school at Arizona State University in 1982, she clerked for one year at the Arizona Supreme Court for Justice Jack D. H. Hayes. She then joined the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, where she worked for 11 more years.
In 1994, she, husband Tom and their family moved to Prescott. She began work at the county attorney’s office and was elected to lead it in 2000.
“During my career as county attorney, I have been privileged to work with outstanding public servants who strive to do the best for the people we serve,” she said. “I think I have led an office that excels in quality, seeks justice for all, and models core values of ethics, excellence, respect, opportunities for growth and work-life balance. I am proud of the important role we perform in maintaining a low crime rate with a high quality of life in Yavapai County.”
Notable achievements include:
• Establishing an Early Disposition Court.
• Partnering with PANT, the countrywide multi-agency drug task force in apprehending and prosecuting traffickers of dangerous drugs such as methamphetamine and fentanyl.
• Supporting the county’s therapeutic courts, including veterans’ court and drug court.
• Forming the Diversion Program that holds low level offenders accountable while still giving them a chance at a crime-free lifestyle.
• Creating a public website to provide accessible data regarding criminal cases.
• Transitioning the County Attorney’s Office into a paperless environment.
• Implementing a remote work option to attract and retain quality employees for every office.
“I will especially recall my role as lead prosecutor in the criminal trial of James Ray, a Sedona-based self-help guru who caused the deaths of three of his followers, and in our office’s success in enjoining retailers throughout Yavapai County through a public nuisance lawsuit from selling dangerous synthetic drugs,” she said.
She said she will remain involved in the greater community.
“I look forward to prioritizing my family, especially our five beautiful grandchildren. I will remain involved with MATFORCE. I also will remain involved with teaching Lessons from the Holocaust. I am eager to study Spanish, sketching and reading.
“I will miss the job, and all the outstanding people across the state I have worked with, and the incredible opportunities that have come my way. But I also know I will be as enthusiastic about this next phase of my life as I have been about my career.
“One item is high on my bucket list, however: I’m going to learn how to sleep beyond 4:30 a.m.”