Cindy Smith, investigator with the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office, asked Sequoyah County Commissioners to approve the sheriff’s office grant application for a $60,000-plus grant for a victims’ advocate program.
The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Grant application was approved.
In VOCA Grants, Federal grant funds are awarded to support crime victim assistance projects that expand and enhance direct services to victims of crime and provide training and technical assistance to service providers.
Smith explained the sheriff’s department got the grant for the first time last year. The $58,000 grant allowed the department to hire a victim’s advocate and lease a vehicle to transport victims’ to hearings, assistance programs, and other events.
“We have exceeded our plans,” Smith reported, adding that 167 victims have been helped in the last four months.
Speaking about the victims of abuse, Smith reported, “Our hope is it (the grant) will help our victims succeed through all the hoops they have to jump through to survive.”
Smith related the story of an Oklahoma City victim of a crime in Sequoyah County that involved boats on a very cold day. The man did not expect to hear much from a small police department in a small county, but the deputy and the program helped him overcome victimization.
Smith said the man told her, “I’m a wealthy businessman and I want to do something for you. We told him he didn’t have to. We were just doing our job. The man donated $10,000 to the sheriff’s department.”
Smith concluded, “This is an important thing for us to do.”
The application is due on March 2, and the grant application is asking for 5 percent more than the $58,000 received last year, Smith said.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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