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Morris County recognizes National Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2024

MORRISTOWN, NJ (Morris County) – In recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2024, members of Morris County law enforcement joined leaders of the law enforcement and the victim advocate community and held a conference on April 24, to acknowledge crime victims.

Marking its 43rd year, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is intended to raise awareness of victims’ rights and services, highlighting programs, celebrating progress achieved, and honoring victims, the professionals, and agencies who serve them. The theme this year is “How would you help? Options, services, and hope for crime survivors.”

The theme asks all of us – friends, family members, neighbors, colleagues, community leaders, victim service providers, criminal justice practitioners and health professionals – how we can help crime victims.  It asks, are you prepared if someone confides in you about victimization? Is your organization victim-centered and trauma informed? Are you familiar with the services available in your community?

In keeping with this theme, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Victim/Witness Advocate team launched a campaign to educate the public about support services available to them. The MCPO designed informative bookmarks, and in partnership with the Main Library Alliance, provided them for distribution at libraries through Morris County. Libraries often act as safe spaces for many people who may not otherwise have one.

“Our hope is that these bookmarks will be helpful to not only crime victims, but also their loved ones, who want to support them but may not know how or whom to contact,” Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll said.

The conference was held in the Commissioners Meeting Room in the Records and Administration Building. The keynote speaker was Newtown (Connecticut) Police Chief David Kullgren. Chief Kullgren explained the law enforcement approach to supporting and managing the trauma to victims during an active crime scene, the immediate aftermath, and in the long-term.

Chief Kullgren was the shift commander and led the response to the tragic Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, and subsequently rose through the ranks of the Newtown Police Department, becoming the sixth Chief of Police for the Town of Newtown in 2022.

“In observance of Crime Victims’ Week, it’s imperative that we as leaders reinforce our commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of our communities. This begins with empowering our staff with the necessary training and resources to uphold the highest standards of performance. By equipping them with the tools and knowledge they need, we not only enhance their ability to serve effectively, but also demonstrate our unwavering dedication to supporting victims and preventing further harm. Let us pledge to foster an environment where every individual feels empowered to make a positive impact and where the rights and dignity of all are protected and upheld,” Kullgren said.

Other speakers for the event included Morris County Prosecutor Robert Carroll, Morris County Sheriff James Gannon, and Commissioner Director Christine Myers. Attendees included

Division of Criminal Justice Deputy Director Theresa Hilton, State Senator Anthony Bucco, Kellie Doucette representing Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, and Assemblyman Michael Inganamort, and chiefs and ranking officers from Morris County municipal police departments, and administrative members of social service agencies throughout the county.

Sheriff Gannon spoke about law enforcement’s role in seeking justice for and working with crime victims, introducing the Hope Hub/Community Connections programs.

Commissioner Director Myers presented the Proclamation recognizing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week approved by the Board of Commissioners, which was scheduled to be approved by the board later that evening at their meeting.

“The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office strives to make justice for victims a priority, and the Victim Witness Unit works to help victims understand their rights, guide victims throughout the criminal justice process, and help victims connect with supportive services,” Carroll said. “I thank the community leaders and those that work with victims and the importance of everyone working together, including Deirdre’s House, Morris Family Justice Center, Hope Hub, Community Connections, JBWS – Safety, Support & Solutions for Abuse, Center for Evaluation and Counseling (CEC), Morris County Sexual Assault Center, NewBridge Services, Victims of Crime Compensation Office, Prevention is Key (PIK), Legal Services of Northwest Jersey, and the Audrey Hepburn’s Children’s House – Regional Diagnostic Center.”

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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