Tiffany Harlow wants Buckhead residents to know the Fulton County District Attorney’s office is on their side.
It’s a message she’s carried with her during her first few months as the Zone 2 Community Prosecutor. Harlow, 32, replaced Hannah Chung, who left the job in February.
The community prosecutor is the public face of the District Attorney’s office at the neighborhood level, someone who builds relationships and interacts with the community, the DA’s Office says.
Building relationships is an important part of the job, Harlow said. Not everyone believes the DA’s office and the community share similar goals.
“Some people think that the District Attorney’s Office is a political position, that there’s no way to bend,” Harlow said. “ … I’ve found that more people have more similar interests than they think. The biggest challenge is getting them to that point to understand how similar their interests really are.”
The community prosecutor is as much an emissary as an arm of the law.
Harlow, like her predecessor, regularly stops by the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods and Neighborhood Planning Unit meetings to update residents about the status of different prosecutions.
The Zone 2 community prosecutor works out of a satellite office on Grandview Avenue.
Before taking the job, Harlow worked in the district attorney’s office investigating the Atlanta Public School’s cheating scandal.
Harlow applied for the Zone 2 community prosecutor’s post after Chung left. She said the position appealed to her for several reasons.
She has a background in journalism and there are public relations aspects of being a community prosecutor. She said uses her skills to portray the office in a good way and also demystify it for the general public.
“I felt I had some strength in communications that could help relay that message to the community,” Harlow said.
Harlow was born and raised in Atlanta. She obtained a bachelor’s degree from Emory University in Atlanta in 2001 and a law degree from Columbia Law School in New York in 2004.
She was a corporate defense attorney for about five years before she took time off to obtain a master’s degree in journalism at Northwestern University in Chicago. She was working the courts beat as a journalist when she realized she wanted more courtroom experience as an attorney, something she didn’t have much exposure to as a corporate lawyer.
Harlow moved back to Atlanta in 2011 to take a job in the Fulton County DA’s office. She prefers prosecution to defense because she doesn’t have to worry about finding new clients. She likes being an attorney because she has a passion for social justice, she said.
Like a beat reporter, Harlow enjoys getting out into the community, meeting people, shaking hands and forming alliances.
“I think a lot of people think that the criminal justice system doesn’t work and I think we’re showing them that it does,” Harlow said.