One of the new divisions I created when I was named chief was the Community Support Division. It’s still in the development phase, but I think we can do a much better job of supporting the victims, families of victims and witnesses to violent crime. This was part of my strategic plan that I discussed with the Board of Police Commissioners when they interviewed me for the chief’s position.
We have bits and pieces of support here and there – like a domestic violence victim advocate who is a liaison with the Rosebrooks Center – but we need to provide more comprehensive customer service to those who have been affected by violent crime.
The need for this became especially evident to me when the mother of a friend of mine who was killed in a triple homicide called me up with no idea what to do about her son’s body or his funeral. That is something we should be able to help out with.
The new Community Support Division will combine department personnel, department chaplains, other clergy and volunteers to reach out to those who are hurting and scared and get them to the resources they need. In fact, the sergeant I’m assigning to the division also serves as a pastor. Some people think of police as intimidating people in uniform, but most of our officers are deeply caring and empathetic to the plight of victims and their families. The Community Support Division will seek to help those whose lives have been impacted by violent crime.
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