DISTRICT ATTORNEY RISA VETRI FERMAN
About Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman
Risa Vetri Ferman is the elected District Attorney of Montgomery County, first earning her seat in November 2007 after working for 15 years in the trenches as a courtroom prosecutor. In 2007, Ferman was elected as the first female District Attorney in the history of Montgomery County. In 2011, she was re-elected for a second term. In both elections she earned more votes than any other candidate on the ballot in the county.
Born in Philadelphia and raised in Abington Township, Risa is a lifelong resident of the community she serves. After graduating from Abington High School, Risa attended the University of Pennsylvania. After working for several years, she opted to return to school and began her studies in the evening program at Widener University School of Law.
Beginning work as a prosecutor in 1993, Ferman quickly rose through the ranks to become Captain of the Sex Crime and Child Abuse Team. She has specialized in the prosecution of homicide, child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence cases. In 2002, Ferman was selected to serve as First Assistant District Attorney, the second in command to the entire District Attorney’s Office and County Detective Bureau. Ferman oversaw all homicide investigations while maintaining a personal caseload of serious crimes she would prosecute herself. Ferman led the way in the creation of a multi-disciplinary investigative team approach to investigation sexual assault and child abuse.
As District Attorney, Ferman has dedicated her office to protecting our community’s most vulnerable citizens. She was the driving force behind the creation of Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center, designed to ease the criminal justice system for victims of child abuse and to help them heal. She was also the co-founder of Montgomery County Child Advocacy Project (MCAP), which provides pro-bono legal services to abused children. She established the County’s first Elder Abuse Unit and Task Force to target criminals who exploit and prey upon vulnerable senior citizens which led the way for the creation of Montgomery County’s Elder Justice Roundtable.
DA Ferman launched an unprecedented partnership with Montgomery County’s twenty-one school districts to create collaboration between law enforcement and our schools to provide for the safety and security of our children. Internet safety, cyber-bullying, violence prevention, teen driving safety, and prescription drug awareness programs are just a few of the programs DA Ferman introduced to our school communities. Her office developed specialized training for school personnel in the mandated reporting and response to sexual assault and child abuse. In 2011, she wrote a children’s book called “The Mouse Who Went Surfing Alone” which is designed to introduce concepts of Internet safety to young children. She is currently working on a sequel tacking the tough issue of bullying amongst children.
DA Ferman spearheaded numerous crime prevention and community education programs throughout Montgomery County. Her team hosts community education programs on a myriad of topics including identity theft and fraud, elder access to justice, drug abuse and awareness, and bullying, to name a few.
DA Ferman has worked closely with the Courts and the Criminal Justice Advisory Board to develop diversionary programs for first-time, non-violent offenders. Her vision to create DUI Court to ensure more prompt accountability and rehabilitation for DUI offenders was adopted by the Court in January 2014. Her office is integral to the operation of the County’s Drug Treatment Court, Behavioral Health Court, and Veterans’ Court and other diversionary programs in an effort to make the most efficient and effective use of limited resources on the treatment and rehabilitation of non-violent offenders.
Most importantly, DA Ferman gets results. Under her leadership, the District Attorney’s office has achieved a 98% conviction rate – one of the strongest records in Pennsylvania.
Throughout the Commonwealth, DA Risa Vetri Ferman is a recognized law enforcement leader. She was selected by her peers to serve on the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association, where she currently serves as Vice President of the Association. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania selected her first as a member and then as Chair of the Criminal Procedural Rules Committee. Fraternal Order of Police Lodges and the Police Chiefs of Montgomery County have recognized DA Ferman as an honorary member of their associations.
DA Ferman has been honored by numerous public and community organizations. In 2014, she was chosen as a recipient of the Girls Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania “Take The Lead” Award. In 2013, she was named a Rodel Fellow in the Aspen Institute’s “Aspen-Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership”. She was recognized by L’Oreal Paris USA as National Honoree and a Women of Worth in 2012. In 2012, she received the Alan Lerner Child Advocacy Award from the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice and Research at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2010 DA Ferman received the Outstanding Service Award from the National Children’s Advocacy Center and she was named by The Legal Intelligencer as a “Woman of Distinction 2010”. DA Ferman has been honored by other organizations including the Citizen’s Crime Commission of the Delaware Valley, Cabrini College, Victim’s Services Center of Montgomery County, Women’s Center, and the Montgomery County Commission on Women and Families.