2013 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
The Honorable Kathleen M. Rice
Nassau County District Attorney
Elected in 2005 and re-elected in 2009, Kathleen Rice is the first woman to serve as Nassau's chief law enforcement officer. As district attorney, her progressive criminal justice policies have commanded national attention, and her devotion to the county's youth and schools is unquestionable.
During her tenure as DA, Rice has written and enacted legislation that executes tougher penalties on those who drink and drive with children in the car, and on drunk drivers who kill or injure other motorists. Her efforts in this arena have been praised by Mothers Against Drunk Driving and profiled on the news program 60 Minutes. The New York Daily News has acknowledged her as "the nation's toughest prosecutor on DWI offenses." Rice's Choices and Consequences program has brought the message of safe driving to more than 200,000 high school students. The DA regularly visits schools to discuss drunk and reckless driving, and brings along DWI defendants to speak to the students.
In 2009, she formed the Long Island Youth Safety Coalition, comprised of local school districts, youth groups, substance abuse treatment organizations and law enforcement agencies. The coalition is dedicated to keeping Long Island youth safe by guiding them away from making destructive decisions.
Rice has taken a lead role in combating the bullying epidemic, with her website stopbullyingli.org. The site provides resources for both students and parents to get help for bullying victims and offers guidelines for protecting against online predators.
In 2008, Rice partnered with the community to introduce the Terrace-Bedell Initiative, an offender-rehabilitation program designed to make Long Island neighborhoods safer for our children. Since its inception, the initiative has led to a remarkable 82% reduction in drug-related crime, prompting he U.S. Department of Justice to model the program across the country.
Rice has strengthened domestic violence prosecution, and established new resources to protect children and the elderly. She has worked with SAT and ACT exam administrators to affect nationwide changes in test security, leveling the playing field for college-bound students.
A resident of Garden City, she is a graduate of Garden City High School, Catholic University and Touro Law School.