Georgetown making room for victim services advocate

GEORGETOWN — In times of crime, there are victims.

The Town of Georgetown Police Department is making room and services available.

“We are hiring in Georgetown a victim services advocate; a victim services specialist,” said Georgetown Police Chief R.L. Hughes. “We’ve given a conditional offer.”

Chief Hughes declined to release the name of the new female hire until everything is official but said “she is well versed in our community. She works here in our community, and she’s bilingual. She is going to be a huge asset for us.”

By definition, victim advocates are professionals trained to support victims of crime. They offer information and emotional support to victims and help locate resources and filling out paperwork. In some cases, advocates go to court with victims.

“Sometimes we find that some of our folks in our community don’t want to come forward,” said Chief Hughes. “A lot of it could be the language barrier. A lot of it could cultural related. So we want someone to help us bridge that gap, and help provide the services to our victims they should be getting and need.”

The victim services advocate is expected be on board by mid-December, Chief Hughes said.

Federal grant funding supports the position. It’s about $242,000 over three years, supported by the Delaware Criminal Justice Council through the Violence Against Women Act, Chief Hughes said.

Victim services will be housed in a corner of the police department presently occupied by Code Enforcement. That location will shelter victims from the normal operations flow and the separate the victim from the alleged assailant/perpetrator.

Office transformation plans include a roundtable and amenities to make the victim feel at ease.

“We want to make it conducive to good communication,” said Chief Hughes.

Relocation of Code Enforcement to make room for victim services is part of a renovation/reconfiguring project. Several other offices are relocating and plans include a bigger entrance lobby.

To help fund these modifications, the police department is taking a sales route. “We are selling stuff,” Chief Hughes said.

Proceeds from the sale of weight room equipment were used for one project. The box “bread” truck will be sold.

And, as a “last resort,” the patrol motorcycle could be sold. “It is an excellent tool,” said Chief Hughes. “Our dilemma is getting someone on that every day to make it an effective tool.”

“I don’t want the taxpayers to take on too much of a burden with this as we reconfigure,” Chief Hughes said. “Our constituents have been very good to us. The Mayor and Council are very good to the police department. But at the same time we need to be good stewards of the city’s money as well. So we need to do our part. We own this. We know we need to take care of this facility.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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