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Colorado State Patrol Victims' Assistance Unit

2006 Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards

Colorado State Patrol Victims' Assistance Unit | Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services
Team Members: Dolores Mitchell; Linda Hunter; Betzy Bicknase; Bill Brown; Jane Kay; Kristen Foust; Kristina Rutter; Lacy Trostel
Denver, Colorado

The Victims' Assistance Unit is an integral resource within the Colorado State Patrol (CSP). The CSP is one of only three highway patrols in the United States serving victims of unexpected and violent traffic crimes in this manner. 

Because of Colorado's level of tourism, many of the victims served are not residents and do not have family and friends nearby for support. Previously, these individuals did not have acceptable access to needed victim services. When arriving at the scene of a crash, a victim advocate does not know if criminal charges will be filed or if the victims will be subject to the specific protections afforded by Colorado's Victims Rights Act. 

From the beginning, CSP has made it a priority to serve every crash victim with the same standard of excellence, applying victims' rights standards to every crash and every situation. In 2004, seven advocates provided direct services to more than 3,000 victims and family members. These included providing on-scene crisis intervention, care for injured pets, lodging for uninjured passengers, transportation for out-of-state family members, and assistance to school principals and counselors of young victims. 

Members of the CSP Victims' Assistance Unit are well educated in victims' rights and bring a sense of integrity into situations in which victims must feel confident that they will be cared for. 

CSP's Victims' Assistance Unit was nominated by Chief Mark Trostel, Colorado State Patrol.