Office of Public Affairs and External Engagement
The Office of Public Affairs and External Engagement (OPAEE) facilitates the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s engagement with the communities of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. OPAEE works to reduce and prevent violence by convening dialogue among community stakeholders, improving coordination between public safety agencies, increasing transparency and equity, and strengthening public trust. The Office’s community initiatives are divided into three sections: Law Enforcement Coordination, Public Affairs, and External Engagement.
The goal of the Public Affairs team is to increase transparency with the community and highlight the work of the Office. The Public Affairs team works to improve and expand public-facing communication about the office's mission, function, and regional impact. The Public Affairs Officer is the liaison between the Office and the press.
Law Enforcement Coordination
The Law Enforcement Coordinator (LEC) works to maintain and strengthen the Office's relationships with law enforcement partners at the federal, state, and local levels. The LEC coordinates violence prevention and intervention initiatives with agencies throughout the district.
Annual Public Safety & Community Engagement Conference
In September 2023, the Office hosted its first annual Public Safety & Community Engagement Conference. The conference brought together representatives from federal, state, and local law enforcement, government agencies, and community organizations throughout the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to discuss, share knowledge, and collaborate on community engagement initiatives.
The External Engagement team supplements the USAO's mission to reduce and prevent violence by creating and maintaining connections with the communities we serve. The three main components of the unit's engagement initiatives are: reentry initiatives, community outreach, and youth engagement.
The Youth Engagement team has three main areas of focus: Civic Education, Career Exposure, and Community Outreach. Civic Education initiatives are designed to introduce and nurture interest in the federal legal system. Career Exposure introduces kids to federal law enforcement careers and exposes them to positive role models to help them imagine new career paths for themselves. The team also engages in hands-on community outreach initiatives involving regular volunteer efforts, speaking engagements, and sustained dialogue with youth-serving organizations to unite resources and support youth.
Constitutional Ambassadors Program
Members of the Office regularly participate in the National Constitution Center’s Constitutional Ambassadors Program. The program’s “Scholar Talks” allow members of the Office to explain legal and constitutional concepts to students of all ages and talk to them about the work we do at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The Youth Engagement team has developed a card game aimed at kids 14 years of age and older to get them talking about the important issues that impact them. The cards contain questions from one of seven categories that will spark conversation and get kids engaged in the world around them.
In August 2023, the Office hosted its first annual Future Assistant United States Attorney program. This week-long program offers an immersive experience for high school students to learn about what it's like to be an Assistant U.S. Attorney, observe court cases, and meet key federal law enforcement leaders. This transformative week exposes students to many new career paths and prepares them for a future in criminal justice. In 2023, the team hosted 46 students from 32 different schools in five of the nine counties in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The students heard from AUSAs, legal assistants, finance experts, and federal agents. The even explored the federal courthouse and had the chance to talk to two federal judges. The program includes a follow-up initiative, the Youth Ambassador program, for Future AUSA alumni to connect and engage in the Office’s other youth engagement initiatives.
To contact the Office of Public Affairs and External Engagement team, email us at USAPAE.Outreach@usdoj.gov.