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Police Social Services, Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office

2009 Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Service | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards

Police Social Services, Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office | Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Service
Team Members: Karla Beck; Deanna Dufrene; Valerie Day; Dale Savoie; Walter Tenney; Delaune Boudreaux; Tamera Joseph; Rebecca Shaver; Amy Guillot; Pam Guedry; Bernard Lafaso
Thibodaux, Louisiana

At Police Social Services Section (PSS), Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, Sheriff’s Office, all victims of crime are a top priority. Since 1998, PSS has created and maintained a “Whatever It Takes” philosophy. PSS is committed to coordinated community responses with advocates, counselors, prosecutors, social workers, and the judicial system by going to great lengths to ensure that victims of crime are given immediate and long-term assistance. 

PSS provides crisis intervention from first response throughout the criminal justice process and serves 1,200–1,400 victims per year. The PSS team is unique in their innovative and significant efforts on behalf of victim services. The PSS Elderly Services Officer is a devoted, full-time, extensive case manager, visiting the local nursing home and community Council on Aging groups to provide assistance, services, and education to older victims, their family members, and caregivers. 

To address victims with disabilities, PSS implemented the Crime Victims with Disabilities Program, and developed a model curriculum, Beyond the Barriers: Crisis Intervention Training, which has been used to educate law enforcement personnel throughout Louisiana. 

In 2007, PSS was awarded a grant to establish Supervised Visitation Centers—a safe space for children to transition from one parent to another. In August 2008, PSS cohosted a national Community Policing in Immigrant Communities Roundtable to enhance law enforcement services to immigrant communities and better assist immigrant crime victims and victims of trafficking. 

Due to PSS, the Sheriff’s Office has received the following national and state recognition: the International Association of Chiefs of Police Excellence in Victim Services Award (2008); the Citizen of the Year Award from the Louisiana Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (2008); and the National Sheriffs’ Association Crime Victim Services Award (2005). 

PSS also values victim services within law enforcement agencies, including a support group for the spouses of law enforcement personnel killed in the line of duty. PSS started with one full-time deputy and one volunteer. Today, PSS has 12 full-time deputies, two auxiliary deputies, two volunteers, and administrative support, all of whom work together to improve the lives of victims in the aftermath of crime. 

PSS was nominated by Wayne Tousley, Sheriff, Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office, Twin Falls, Idaho.