Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $824,894)
The purpose of this award, funded under the OVC FY 2019 Law Enforcement-Based Victim Specialist Program, is to develop or enhance and sustain crime victim specialist programs within law enforcement agencies and better coordinate services to victims to more quickly and more effectively serve the victim assistance and compensation needs of all crime victims and inform them of their rights as crime victims.
The Michigan State Police (MSP) Victim Specialist Program (VSP) will create a unique resource for crime victims and will provide needed support for law enforcement officers. In partnership with two other state departments, the MSP will develop a program to inform victims of crime of their rights and to refer them to social services they may need. By establishing the VSP within the department, the MSP will address victims needs early on in their interaction with the criminal justice system. This proactive approach will help reduce negative interactions with law enforcement officers and will enhance current efforts by local police agencies. When crimes are not prosecuted, victims do not receive help from prosecutor-based victim specialists. MSPs VSP fixes this problem by implementing victim services in the first stage of the criminal justice process, rather than the last. MSP will launch the VSP by hiring two analysts to cover the First and Third Districts. The VSP analysts will cover the entire district to which they are assigned, with a primary focus on the SCP cities within the district. Additional resources will help ensure crime victims are not overlooked, and will also allow MSP troopers and detectives to focus mainly on investigating and solving crimes.