Hays County Commissioners Court Recognizes Crime Victims’ Rights and Samantha Dean, Issues Proclamation
Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – The Hays County Commissioners Court has proclaimed the week of April 19-25 as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and as Samantha Dean Week in Hays County.
Samantha Dean, Victim Services Coordinator for the City of Kyle Police Department, was murdered in Bastrop County in February of this year and is remembered as a dedicated advocate for victims of violence, especially abused children.
According to the proclamation, Americans are victims of more than 26 million crimes each year that touch the lives of people regardless of age, national origin, race, creed, religion, gender, sexual orientation or immigration and economic status. National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is an opportune time to commit to ensuring that all victims of crime – even those who are challenging to reach or serve – are offered culturally and linguistically accessible and appropriate services in the aftermath of crime.
The Hays County District Attorney’s Victim Services Division is staffed by five advocates who act as liaison between the victim and the Criminal District Attorney’s Office and help ensure that crime victims receive appropriate services. In 2014 the five Victim Service Coordinators contacted and assisted 1,522 crime victims and have already assisted nearly 800 so far in 2015.
Hays County Sheriff’s Office Victim Assistance Coordinator/Liaison and Victim Assistance Unit volunteers are on-scene support to victims and their families of major crimes, including survivors of homicide victims, assault, family violence, child abuse, elder abuse, sexual assault, kidnapping and DWI hit-and-run fatalities, as well as other crimes, traumatic events and disasters. The Unit provides referrals and information about community resources, legal options, the criminal justice process, victims’ rights and compensation. In 2014 the VAU served 572 victims and their families and have served 203 victims and their families so far in 2015.
Left to right Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau, County Judge Bert Cobb, M.D., Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jamie Page, Capt. Mark Cumberland, Sheriff Gary Cutler, Precinct 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe, Precinct 2 Commissioner Mark Jones, Sheriff’s Office Victim Assistance Coordinator/Liaison Renee Sample, San Marcos Police Department Victim Services Coordinator Roya Williamson, Hays County District Attorney’s Office Victim Assistance Coordinator Jo Marie Montague, Lead Victim Assistance Coordinator Maggie Avalos, Victim Assistance Coordinator Gabriela Lara, Sheriff’s Office Lt. Dennis Gutierrez, Capt. Mike Davenport, Capt. Brad Robinson, Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley and Precinct 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant celebrate April 19-25 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week and Samantha Dean Week in Hays County.