Millsboro PD eyes grant to help hire victim services specialist

MILLSBORO — The town’s police department is pursuing possible matching grant funding that would support a position structured to provide advocacy services for victims of all crimes.

Millsboro Police Chief Brian Calloway at the Jan. 7 council meeting presented the posting by the Crimi-nal Justice Council through the Victims of Crime Act Assistance Program.

“This would be focused on initiating a position within the police department or any other organization with the focus on providing services of all reported crimes,” said Chief Calloway. “Ultimately, this would pay for a civilian position to provide victim services for all reported crimes, not just sexual as-sault.”

Chief Calloway said he received the posting Jan. 3. “It sparked my interest,” he said.

The application deadline is midnight Feb. 4 – the date of council’s February meeting. The grant has an 80/20 federal/local monetary match with a two-year commitment.

“As police officers the one thing we are focused on is getting the ‘bad guy.’ That’s what we are good at. That is what we are taught for Day 1: get the ‘bad guy.’ But where we fall short often is the support for victim,” said Chief Calloway. “This would be a great opportunity for us to be able to start this pro-gram and let grant funds do that. What I really like about it is it is for all victims of any crime.”

Millsboro Councilman Bradley Cordrey is an officer in the neighboring Georgetown Police Department, which has a victim service specialist advocate.

“It is an asset – a big asset – to have victim services,” Mr. Cordrey said.

In addition to the victim services position, Chief Calloway said the grant could provide everything from desk equipment to even vehicle leases. The position is catered to anyone with experience in victim services.

“If you would, find out what kind of monies we’re looking at,” said Millsboro Mayor John Thoroughgood. “Council will want to know what it is going to cost.”

Georgetown victim services advocate

Since December 2015, Georgetown has had in place a victim services specialist advocate – Mayra Reyes. The position is federally funded with a matching grant.

“It is unbelievable, the work that a good victim services advocate can do,” said Georgetown Police Chief R.L. Hughes. “Mayra is a fantastic individual. She does a wonderful job for our community, but more importantly she does a wonderful job for all of Sussex County. We are part of the whole victim services network and often times Mayra will assist the Attorney General’s Office or the state police, especially if they have something where they need some more resources as far as language assis-tance. Mayra is bilingual with Spanish. So, it does help quite a bit.”

Georgetown’s advocacy effort targets victims of all crime.

“What we do in Georgetown is a little bit different than some other places. We do follow-up investiga-tions on all of our domestic violence cases,” said Chief Hughes. “For example, if there is a domestic vio-lence case where maybe it’s a shouting match or it’s just what we call a verbal domestic, where no one has been injured, we still follow up. Mayra will review all of those reports that come in. She does fol-low-up contact.

“If there is a domestic violence situation where someone has been injured or hurt, we actually go out and re-interview victims and touch base with the parties involved, just to make sure that folks, if they need additional counseling or additional services, we can try to help them find those services. We do that for everything. Mayra’s addition to that victim services team is really key to our community outreach and our community engagement.”

At present Georgetown’s program is granted funded, said Chief Hughes, noting the town’s match at this point includes some administrative costs and also indirect costs, such as office space and comput-ers, or similar types of things.

“But the funding for this position is coming from a grant through the federal government,” said Chief Hughes. “I believe all in it’s somewhere around $60,000 a year. But that includes OECs (Other Employ-ment Costs), salary, and a vehicle cost and all of those things wrapped up.”

Chief Hughes said he sought support for this type of outreach service after assuming the Georgetown chief’s position in late May of 2015.

“We had a large number of domestic violence cases that were taking place in our jurisdiction. We needed to do a better job of outreach,” said Chief Hughes. “So, in my previous life with the state police our victim services unit was fantastic. It really helped bridge the gap between law enforcement and outreach to our victims and our community. We were lucky enough to get the funding, and even luckier; Mayra Reyes is fantastic. She just does a wonderful job.”

 

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