MCSO Applying for Grant to Continue Helping Victims
KREX News Room
MESA COUNTY, Colo.- On Monday the Mesa County Commissioners consented for the Mesa County Sheriff's Office to apply for the VALE Grant.
The grant enables the Mesa County Sheriff's Office to better serve victims in the community.
Over the past year, the victim services program has served over 500 victims.
Prior to 2008 the county paid for the program, but budget cuts changed that.
The program strives to leave no victim behind.
Tracy Baker, the victim services coordinator, said, "Law enforcement is really all about catching the bad guy and enforcing laws. Victims kind of get forgotten sometimes in the system."
Victim advocates are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and respond to calls anywhere within the 3,300 square miles of Mesa County.
"Murder, domestic violence … those types of crimes that are against persons. Scenes of other trauma that aren't necessarily crimes, such as suicide and unattended death."
They work closely with organizations like the Latimer House.
Karla Kitzman, the program coordinator at the Latimer House, said, "When you're a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault, it means you haven't had your needs listened to, heard and met for a very long time."
The program has around 20 volunteer advocates and is always looking for more.
"We have people that are really used to crime scenes, like a firefighter, for example. We have people that are not at all used to crime scenes, that are just passionate," said Baker.
In order to continue the work being done, the group needs to receive the VALE grant.
"VALE is the Victim Assistance and Law Enforcement fund. The money comes from funds and fees that are paid in court by perpetrators," Baker said.
The grant will help the program expand.
Kitzman said, "Coming through Latimer's door is really difficult; it means you're admitting a lot. They are kind of able to bridge people to come to Latimer House. To kind of soften it and say they're here to support you."
Advocates hope to continue their work and further their impact in victims' lives.
The official deadline to apply for the grant is Oct. 1.
They will find out if they received it on Nov. 15.