Four police departments join forces to provide victims services unit

Belen Ward
bward@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 1/9/23

After Weld County cuts in 2022, victims of violent crime in Fort Lupton and Lochbuie now have resources with the Brighton Office for Victims Assistance.

An officer called to the scene of a crime, …

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Four police departments join forces to provide victims services unit

Posted

After Weld County cuts in 2022, victims of violent crime in Fort Lupton and Lochbuie now have resources with the Brighton Office for Victims Assistance.

An officer called to the scene of a crime, accident, or a victim's house can quickly request support from a victim's advocate within 24 hours, seven days a week, according to a new release.

"We are excited to have BOVA. It will benefit our community and citizens in many ways," said Tracey McCoy, Police Chief of Lochbuie Police Department.

McCoy said they used to have a victims advocate assistance unit with the Weld County Sheriff's Department, but it had staffing issues to cover a large area of Weld County.

"They decided they would not assist the communities through the Weld County Sheriff's Department. They were going to provide those services through its own sheriff's department," Chief McCoy said.

Since McCoy's department is on the border with Brighton and already works with the Brighton police department on other things, she got into contact with Kim Messina, Victim Services Manager for the Brighton Office for Victims Assistance, or BOVA.

"We worked out an intergovernmental agreement; BOVA is top-notch, one of the best victim units in the state," Chief McCoy said.

BOVA offers a program where police departments can use volunteer victim advocates specialists if it's not in the department's budget to hire a full-time advocate.

"We can't budget for a full-time advocate, so we would rely on the BOVA volunteer to provide for Lochbuie, " McCoy said.

In the late 1980s, the victim's services developed as separate units with the Brighton Police Department and Commerce City Police Department. According to officials, the cities of Brighton and Commerce City joined forces in 2014 to create a single victims' service unit to expand its services.

The police departments are now partnering with the City of Fort Lupton as well as Lochbuie to expand BOVA services in Weld County for victims. BOVA is staffed with highly trained victims' advocates to help victims of trauma. In addition, BOVA provides follow-up and referral services for victims and families to seek counseling.

Fort Lupton representatives could not be reached for comment.

BOVA will provide volunteer Victims' Advocates Specialist that will be on-scene of the emergency with victims and witnesses experiencing violent crime or sudden death. According to officials, the advocates provide quick crisis mediation for the victims and families while guiding them through the justice system, agency referral, emergency shelter, and other victim resources.

For more information about becoming a BOVA Volunteer Victim Advocate, visit www.brightonco.gov/348/Become-a-Volunteer.

 "This is a great opportunity for anyone looking for a way to give back to the community and provide an invaluable service to those in need," Messina said.

brighton victims services unit-commerce city-fort lupton-lochbuie

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