Verizon Wireless Awards Grant
to HPD's Crime Victims Unit
Verizon Wireless has awarded a $3,000 grant to the Hazelwood Police Department (HPD) for its Crime Victims and Domestic Violence Unit.
The company's vertical account manager for public safety, Lou Dauten, presented the check to Beth Ray, HPD's Crime Victims/Domestic Violence Unit coordinator, in keeping with the spirit of giving this holiday season.
It took a team effort within the department to apply for this grant funding. Hazelwood's IT system administrator Glen Robinson played an instrumental role in getting the HPD signed up for Verizon's Project Hopeline program in 2009, which is administered through the company's public relations office. He encouraged Lt. Ken Jewson and Beth Ray to submit the grant application.
As a Project Hopeline participant, the HPD receives cellular phones from Verizon which are distributed to victims of crime. This is an important component in the department's overall goal to enhance the safety of victims. It is especially crucial for domestic violence and stalking victims to have 24-hour access to a cellular phone to call 911.
This additional funding will be used to cover the cost of reprinting informational packets which are given out to victims of crime, family members and community members every year. Some of the topics covered by these packets include sexual assault, domestic violence, and family survivors of homicide. Domestic violence information is available in five different languages to accommodate the diverse mix of ethnic groups living in the local community.
"We literally distribute hundreds of these informational packets on a yearly basis. And, they often need to be updated due to new and changing resources in the Greater St. Louis area," Beth Ray, HPD's Crime Victims and Domestic Violence Unit coordinator, said. "One of the most costly expenditures for this unit relates to the reprinting of these packets. But these updates are crucial to the department's overall goal of providing victims with the highest quality of current information and referrals possible."
A portion of the grant money will also be used to subsidize the cost of training for Beth Ray, an 18-year member of the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV). Members of this organization meet in Jefferson City once a year to interact with state legislators and national speakers. This event gives them an opportunity to cross-train with other service providers and to network with their peers as well. Because of the recession and sluggish recovery which prompted the City to make extensive budget cuts, she hasn't been able to attend the annual MDADSV Conference for several years. This funding will enable her to go and keep herself up-to-date with current laws and legislation.
The partnership between HPD's Crime Victims Unit and its commissioned officers has been presented as a model of excellence in a law enforcement invention program by county, state, and international communities. In 2010, the HPD was one of only three global law enforcement agencies to be presented with an "Excellence in Victim Services Award" from The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and LogIn, Inc. It was given recognition for utilizing best practices such as effective partnerships, innovative training methods and performance monitoring tools which place crime victims at the center of all problem-solving activities.