Do you want to help community members in crisis? Do you want to get training on crisis intervention and trauma? Do you want to wear a police radio without having to be a deputy?
If that is the case, volunteering with the Park County Sheriff’s Office Victim Services might be a perfect fit for you.
How does it work?
Volunteers arrive on the scene of an incident where law enforcement is involved and victims of a crime have been impacted. Volunteers are there to provide support at this crucial time.
Types of crimes may range from human trafficking, domestic violence, murder, manslaughter, assault, kidnapping, child abuse, robbery, careless driving that results in the death of another person, stalking, first degree burglary, victim or witness retaliation, as just a few examples.
Patty Lucy, assistant director of the PCSOVS, said, “Volunteers may help connect victims with resources such as mental health resources, safe shelter, and community resources such as food banks.”
Lucy added, “A key part of our work is helping victims know what happens in the legal process and also providing emotional support to someone who is in crisis and experiencing trauma.”
“We may validate their experience and help them focus and prepare and predict what the next steps will be,” Lucy said.
On-call volunteers are needed for the weekend hours. If a volunteer goes out on a call during the weekend, the volunteer just helps during that call, and a staff person follows up with the person during the week. It is a short-term intervention that the volunteer provides.
Some volunteers are also needed for duties such as attending community events, such as Burro Days, and giving out information about the program at a booth.
Volunteers are given forty hours of online training on how to help someone dealing with a traumatic event, crisis intervention, and the legal process. They also receive additional training through time spent with a staff person, conferences and meetings.
About the Park County Sheriff’s Office Victim Services
“The Park County Sheriff’s Office Victim Services program works in conjunction with law enforcement deputies to respond to crime victims and family survivors in cases of crimes against persons and families affected by violent and sudden death,” per the Park County website, www.parkco.us.
The volunteers are on call approximately one weekend per month. Being on call means that you are available by telephone (landline or cell phone) and have a reliable form of transportation to get to a location when called.
While on call, volunteers cannot take part in any activity that may impair their ability to drive or to think clearly, such as partake of alcohol or drugs (even prescription drugs that may affect driving ability).
While on call, volunteers will also have access to a law enforcement radio.
The volunteer territory is split between north of Kenosha Pass and south of Kenosha Pass.
To become a volunteer, one must be age 21 or above and pass a background check, which is provided by the Sheriff’s Office.
Per Lucy, volunteers may be on call one weekend a month, but may only receive a call to meet a victim at a crime scene once every three to four months. However, this varies and it can be hard to predict how many calls one may receive.
Why do volunteers like to do this work?
As with lots of volunteer work, helping others can be rewarding.
Many current volunteers work out of the county during the week, and they enjoy being able to connect with the community on the weekend in this manner.
Others appreciate the social opportunity as they meet the other volunteers during regular meetings.
Also, since training on crisis and trauma is provided, this is helpful knowledge for anyone to have.
Some current volunteers have been volunteers for as many as 15 years.
Victim’s Bill of Rights
In 1992, Colorado’s state Constitution was amended to include the Victim Rights Amendment, which states, “Any person who is a victim of a criminal act or such person’s designee, legal guardian, or surviving immediate family members if such person is deceased, shall have the right to be heard when relevant, informed and present at all critical stages of the criminal justice process. All terminology, including the term ‘critical stages’ shall be defined by the general assembly” (Article II, Section l6A Colorado State Constitution).
The PCSOVS brochure writes that victims and witnesses of crime have the right to:
“Be treated with dignity and compassion.
“Protection from intimidation and harm.
“Be kept informed about various phases of their case, including investigation, prosecution, trial and sentencing.
“Provide information and input into the criminal justice process, especially at such key points as plea bargaining, sentencing, and parole release hearings.
“Speedy return of their property used for evidence.
“Notification from officials about arrest, release of defendants, time and location of legal proceeding, sentencing, and parole hearings.
“Be informed about eligibility for state crime compensation or financial support, where applicable, and the right to be helped in completing application forms in a timely manner when applicable.
“Request and utilize the services of the Victim Advocate Program.”
To volunteer to help people during a crime-related crisis, contact the PCSOVS at 303 -816-5915 or email Patty Lucy at firstname.lastname@example.org.