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March 31. 2014 6:42PM

Rockingham County Attorney now a four-way race

BRENTWOOD — District court prosecutor Michael DiCroce said Monday that he is entering the race for Rockingham County Attorney, making him the fourth candidate to compete in the Republican primary.

DiCroce, of Fremont said he will make an official announcement about his intention to run on April 8 at a campaign kickoff event in Epping. He said he is running for the top prosecutor's job so he can restore the reputation of the county attorney's office in the wake of allegations of financial misconduct and sexual harassment by embattled County Attorney James Reams.
DiCroce prosecutes district court cases for six police departments in Rockingham County, including Chester, Northwood, Newmarket, Newfields, Greenland and Nottingham.

"We've got to restore the faith of the people," he said. "It needs to be done by someone outside of the office."

Reams, who remains suspended from his job, is fighting removal proceedings by the state attorney general after a five-month investigation concluded he mismanaged a forfeiture account and sexually harassed employees. He has denied any wrongdoing and is not seeking reelection to a 9th term.

"People think it's a frat house over there and that it has run amok," DiCroce said of the office.



He worked as an assistant county attorney between 1991 and 1997 and last ran for county attorney in 1996.

DiCroce said he decided to enter the race after speaking with area police chiefs, law enforcement officials and residents around Rockingham County.

"Police are frustrated with the number of cases being kicked back to them because the assistant county attorneys don't want to indict," he said. "They're unhappy with the inconsistent results from one prosecutor to another. They want to see a more aggressive prosecutor's office."

If elected, DiCroce said he would create units within the office that would specialize in major crimes, Internet crimes, sexual assaults and misdemeanor appeals.

"You will have experts in those areas, but you will have results that are consistent," he said.

Currently, a prosecutor's caseload is set by being assigned to a certain section of the county.

DiCroce said he also wants to have prosecutors present at more crime scenes to aid with the collection of evidence and to advise police so they can avoid potential legal challenges when the case is prosecuted.

DiCroce said his first campaign kickoff reception at The Holy Grail Restaurant is open to the public. It starts at 5 p.m.

He said an important part of his campaign will be distinguishing himself from his opponents. They include Patricia Conway, an assistant county attorney from Salem; Salem police prosecutor Jason Grosky of Atkinson and Michael Zaino, an assistant Hillsborough county attorney from Hampton.

jkimble@newstote.com


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