Tera Coats Hunt announces run for prosecutor

Deputy Prosecutor and Salem native, Tara Coats Hunt, recently announced she will seek the job as the Washington County’s top law enforcement officer.  

Hunt said she is proud of the work that she has been part of in the prosecutor’s office while serving as deputy.

“I am running for prosecutor because I want to keep up the good work we’ve done in the office,” she said. “Over the years, people have come to be proud of the prosecutor’s office and trust us to deliver justice. I will build on the conservative leadership we’ve had by improving technology in the office, building connections in this community, and working for the safety and success of our youth,”

Hunt has served as deputy prosecutor for the last five years. In that role, she has successfully handled all case types, including murder cases and all major felonies. She has tried multiple, high-level cases, and also managed the office’s drug case load.  

According to Hunt, during her time with the office, over 50 methamphetamine and heroin dealers have been arrested, convicted and removed from the streets of Washington County.  

“We want Washington County to be an unwelcome place for drug dealers,” she said. “Drugs can have a terrible and lasting impact on families and communities and if I am elected we will continue to fight to keep them out. To that end, we will also pursue charges and sentences in these cases to the fullest extent of our ability under the law. We will continue our tough approach to crime and our strong support for victims!”  

Hunt attributes the success of the office in part to a good working relationship with all area law enforcement agencies no only in Washington County but also with the state police and those agencies outside of the state. 

“Right now, local, state and federal officers want to work in Washington County because we trust their ability to investigate cases and they know we will handle their cases well,” Hunt said. “I will continue to foster a good working relationship with the law enforcement agencies because they are a vital part of our system of justice.” 

Hunt is eager to build on the work of her predecessor, Dustin Houchin, who recently announced he will be running for Superior Court judge.

“While we have done great work over the last five years, we can always improve,” she said. “That’s why I plan to bring three new initiatives to the prosecutor’s office: Child and Sex Crimes Task Force, School Partnerships to prevent cyber-bullying and child solicitation, and education programs for our senior citizens to protect them from internet-based fraud and theft.” 

Hunt says she is uniquely qualified to develop programs such as these. 

“As a mother of school-aged children and the chief lawyer in the office responsible for Adult Protective Services, I see these issues first-hand and believe there is an opportunity to do more,” she said.  

Hunt said the youth in our community need guidance and leadership now more than ever. 

“The technology being developed and placed in the hands of our youth is an untapped source of education; however, in the wrong hands our children are easily targeted and can become victims of child crimes,” she said. “This is why I believe it is important for the prosecutor’s office to provide education on the dangers to children and parents.” 

Hunt also believes in maintaining an active role with the youth and its why she and her husband Chris volunteer for many local youth programs, including football and wrestling programs for students in elementary through High School.  

Hunt has been active in the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council and is a member of IPAC’s Technology Committee. 

In the last five years, the Prosecutor’s office has gone paperless. Digital files allow the office to quickly and effectively communicate with courts and defense counsel. She has also received training in digital trial technology and has successfully implemented digital trial techniques in the courtroom, allowing for the prosecutor’s office to effectively present the State’s case to the jury, resulting in convictions and justice for victims.

Hunt obtained her bachelor’s degree with honors from Indiana University Southeast and her law degree from Marquette Law School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She practiced law in Wisconsin for five years before she and her husband moved their family back home to Salem.

Hunt is the daughter of Rodney and Ellen Coats of Salem. She met her husband, Chris in the halls of Salem High School over 25 years ago. They live in Salem with their two sons, Grayson, 16 and Gavin 13.

“Salem is my home and Washington County is a wonderful place to raise a family,” she said. “I am asking the citizens of Washington County to put their trust in me to build on the well-earned reputation of success of the prosecutor’s office.”


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