John Tyson, Jr., Former Mobile District Attorney, May 20th, 2014
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A graduate of the University of South Alabama and the University of Alabama School of Law, John M. Tyson Jr., JD, was elected to the Alabama State Board of Education in 1980. He held the office for the next 14 years, 9 of those as the presiding officer of that body.
In 1994, Tyson was appointed to the position of Mobile County (AL) District Attorney by then-Governor Jim Folsom, and in 1998 and 2004 was elected to continue his service in the position. Tyson’s administration has been marked with many strategic and technological improvements. A comprehensive reorganization of the District Attorney’s Office into 16 service teams allowed staff members to develop, accomplish and monitor annual goals and objectives in keeping with the agency’s established “compelling focus.”
Tyson has gained national recognition when his crime prevention program, “Make the Right Choice,” was named as a best practice by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has made a number of appearances on national television and radio in conjunction with “Secret Safe Place for Newborns” — a first-of-its-kind effort to provide mothers in crisis with a safe, anonymous option for giving up their unwanted newborns for adoption. “Secret Safe Place” was named a finalist in the “Innovations in American Government Awards,” sponsored by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Another trend-setting initiative by Tyson’s office is the “Good Samaritans” crime victims assistance program, in which trained citizen volunteers offer on-the-scene assistance to vulnerable victims such as the elderly and women living alone. The United States Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime designated the program as a national pilot program.
In 2003, the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office established the “Helping Families Initiative” to intervene with the county’s at-risk youth before they get in serious trouble with the law.
Tyson’s innovative leadership and administration earned him the title of Alabama District Attorney of the Year in 2004.