Tulsa Police Use Advocates To Help Crime Victims
TULSA, Oklahoma - The Tulsa Police Department is hiring victim advocates to help others with their cases and one of them started today.
Becoming the victim of a crime can change someone's life in seconds.
"I think a lot of times you don't feel safe anymore and maybe even in your own home," said TPD Advocate Whitney Allen.
As detectives work the case, sometimes the victims and their families are left waiting for answers and left trying to navigate the justice system.
“At that point, the detective is focused on everything that has to happen for it to be a successful case," said Allen.
Tulsa Police Major Tracie Lewis started applying for grants to hire advocates, like Whitney, who would focus on the victim and sometimes their family as well.
"Being a victim of a crime can be very traumatic. It’s somebody's very worst day and to be able to be there to help them navigate that, to feel safe again, supported, to be able to navigate where the criminal justice system is going to go, and where their case is with the police department. I can't think of a better job," said Allen.
Officers said most advocacy programs are run by community groups but this one is law enforcement based, which is completely new for the Tulsa Police Department. Officers hope once it’s fully developed, departments all over the nation will use TPD as an example to build their own victim advocate programs.
"This position is also going to be very valuable in helping people feel safe and secure again," said Allen.