MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KREX) – The Victim Advocate Program provides sympathy and help to someone going through trauma. This branch of Mesa County Sheriff’s Office provides emotional support to the community after tragic events like a car accident or fire.
Advocates respond to scenes where law enforcement officers are present, serving those in need, no matter the situation.
“Every call that I’ve been on is different,” Mesa County Victim Advocate Mark Connolly reflects, “The circumstances are always different. You just really don’t know what you’re you’re going to deal with until you get there and then you rely on your training.”
Mesa County Sheriff’s Office wants to beef up the Victim Advocate Program with 15 more recruits. Providing this service takes teamwork and a lot of hands, but what the current team wants are people who’ll let victims know they’re not alone.
“What a person needs to bring to the table is a sense of compassion for their fellow human being and the desire to lighten the load,” Victim Advocate Program Director Tracy Baker informs.
Every victim advocate is a volunteer who go above and beyond to fulfill needs whether its repairs, transportation, or temporary lodging. 40 hours of training are required before the first call, but can benefit the advocate on call.
“At first, it’s hard to prepare yourself,” Mesa County Victim Advocate Vanessa Glasoe describes, “As you go on, you learn you learn coping skills, you learn self management skills, you learn how to calm your anxiety, and your stress or nervousness, so that you can be there and support the victim.”
With no prior experience needed, the next shoulder to lean on could be yours.
To be a Victim Advocate for Mesa County, you must meet all of the requirements:
- Have an insured vehicle available during your shifts.
- Have a current and valid driver’s license.
- Able to commit a few hours per month for at least a one year period.
- Have a desire to help victims in need.
- Successful completion of our training program.
The next Victim Advocate Program (VAP) Training Academy is scheduled to run from Tuesday, September 7th through Thursday, October 21st (every Tuesday and Thursday evening for three hours and two Saturday sessions).
Once training is complete, a new VAP will shadow a veteran volunteer until they are comfortable responding on their own. VAPs are then asked to sign-up for at least three 12-hour shifts per month.
Shifts can be selected according to your schedule and time off for vacation is accommodated. We also ask that you attend our monthly information and training meeting.