Pohlhaus is the executive assistant U.S. attorney for external affairs for the U.S. Attorney's Office of the District of Columbia. She heads the office's community outreach efforts.
Where are you from?
I'm a native Washingtonian. I attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help school in Southeast D.C. and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and received my bachelor's degree from the University of the District of Columbia.
Why does the U.S. Attorney's Office need community outreach?
Our goal is to enhance public safety through education and to increase the community's participation in the criminal justice system as jurors and witnesses by building bonds of trust. We hold community outreach events, youth engagement programs, and attempt to reduce recidivism through programs for citizens returning to the community from prison.
What's the most rewarding thing about your job?
When we are successful in breaking down barriers of distrust between our office and the community. One Friday afternoon, as part of our outreach to the Muslim community, I attended the Jumu'ah prayer service at a local mosque, then enjoyed a meal with a group of Muslim women. One woman admitted that she wasn't particularly trusting of prosecutors before meeting me, but now understood that "prosecutors are people, too."
What's the most challenging thing about your job?
I come into contact with children who are dealing with serious educational, emotional and family challenges. Sometimes these kids are dealing with issues that would be hard for any adult to cope with. While we can connect these children to various resources to help them face their challenges, I wish I had a magic wand to restore them to a healthy and happy childhood.
What's your philosophy about life?
Faith, hope and charity. To have a faith to propel me forward even when the odds are against me, enough hope to sustain me in times of trouble, and charity in my heart to help someone else along their way.