Travis County DA José Garza releases 2022 year in review

The Travis County District Attorney's Office released a letter on Tuesday reflecting on 2022 and outlining priorities for 2023.

"The Travis County District Attorney's Office was really focused on doing everything we could to hold people accountable who commit acts of violence in our community," said District Attorney Jose Garza in an interview with FOX 7.

And not just accountability, but prevention.

"Last year we worked with the Commissioners Court to pass policies that can reduce gun violence, and so in 2023, we're going to be really focused on implementing those policies," said Garza.

His office has also focused on providing support for victims of crime.

"We've adopted policies that I think are pretty common sense that require our prosecutors, for example, to communicate any offer we intend to make to the victim first before we communicate it to a defendant," he said. "I know that that seems pretty common sense, but that is not something that happens, I would say, in most district attorney offices across the state and across the country."

RELATED: Travis County District Attorney José Garza releases 2021 Year in Review

The DA has faced some criticisms since Garza took office including backlash from police union members. 

Some of that backlash came after 19 APD officers were indicted for conduct during the 2020 George Floyd protests.

"The change that I promised to make when I ran for office was that when it comes to allegations of police violence, we would let our community decide when that conduct was unlawful and when a law enforcement officer should be held accountable for that conduct, and that's what I've done," said Garza. "The change we have made that the prior administration didn't do is to present those cases to a grand jury and let the grand jury decide."

Some community members have also voiced concerns about how the DA's office handles certain crimes.

At one point, Austin police officers were reportedly declining to investigate some criminal activity saying they didn’t think the DA would prosecute. 

"I think our record speaks for itself in 2022 alone," said Garza. "Our office secured over 5,700 formal charges and over 4,300 convictions for all criminal offenses; we continue to hold people accountable who commit criminal acts in our community, particularly crimes of violence, and we will continue to do that."