HANCOCK COUNTY — Prosecutor Brent Eaton has hired a new chief deputy prosecutor.
Aimee Herring has prosecuted major crimes, including homicides, as a deputy prosecutor in St. Joseph County. She also has worked with a special victims unit dealing with domestic violence and crimes against children for the past several years. She’ll bring over 12 years of experience to the job.
Herring replaces Marie Castetter, who left the chief deputy position in December to take over as judge in Hancock County Superior Court 1.
Herring earned her law degree from the University of Dayton School of Law. She also has bachelor’s degrees in business and political science from Indiana University.
She said she’s looking forward to coming to the area.
“I’d just continued to hear good things about the county and how many improvements have been made there and how well the prosecutor and his staff have been doing and that was appealing to me,” Herring said.
Herring has worked for three prosecutors to date, and she said she has learned something from each. She’s hoping the experience of seeing what does and doesn’t work in a prosecutor’s office will come in handy.
“Based upon my experience, there is a lot I can contribute here,” Herring said. “I’m just excited about all the growth in this area and just think now is a good time to be a part of it.”
Eaton hired Herring in part because she has been involved in community initiatives in St. Joseph County and hopes she will do the same in Hancock County. While in South Bend, Herring took part in programs such as Prevent Child Abuse of St. Joseph’s County; and worked with CASIE Center, a child advocacy agency that facilitates investigations of crimes against children.
Herring said her specialized skills and experience will put her in a position to give back to the community.
“Serving is a great way to have a direct impact on families, victims as well as defendants making sure justice is served,” Herring said.
Eaton felt Herring showed a commitment to victims and families, noting she has led a multi-disciplinary team to collaborate with other agencies to assist victims.
“She will bring this commitment to community involvement and service to Hancock County,” Eaton said.
The role of the chief deputy prosecutor, a state-funded position, pays $112,000 per year. It’s an important role in the office and in the community, Eaton said. The process of hiring Castetter’s replacement, however, wasn’t easy.
“Hiring the right person has weighed on me ever since the day Marie went across the street,” Eaton said.
While Eaton felt he had several strong candidates for the job already on his staff, he ultimately decided he wanted someone with supervisory experience.
“I was seeking a candidate who had extensive management and trial experience, a strong track record of community involvement, and someone who had experience working with the media,” Eaton said.
Eaton also sought someone whose connections can help create more meaningful partnerships in the community. Herring’s track record in St. Joseph County leaves him hopeful she can do that here.
Herring is expected to start her new position on Monday, March 9. She is currently making the transition to the county with her family and said she is looking forward to living near Indianapolis, where she also has relatives.