In cases of domestic violence, assault, unattended deaths and suicides, victim advocates respond with deputies to provide emotional support, resources and help with filling out paperwork. After the crisis has passed, these professionals often shepherd victims through the judicial process.
Since the retirement of longtime advocate Barb Yant, Leah Valdez-Welk has been working with the sheriff's office to provide victim services.
Valdez-Welk grew up in Montrose and moved back to the Western Slope six months ago. She was previously employed as an animal control officer in Aurora for three years. Although that position was occasionally stressful, Valdez-Welk discovered she enjoyed making a difference in people's lives. She applied for the victim advocate position with the Delta County Sheriff's Office and has since undergone training to prepare her to handle any situation with knowledge, compassion and professionalism.
Now she's looking to build a small corps of volunteers to ensure victim services are available in Delta County 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Applicants must be at least 21 years of age, have reliable transportation, live in Delta County and be able to pass a background check. Both males and females are invited to apply.
Valdez-Welk said no knowledge of court procedures or law enforcement is required, but applicants should have good communication and coping skills. Victim advocates should be ready to support, not force decisions or opinions upon the victims. Training will be provided.
If you're looking to make a difference in the community and willing to grow and learn from working as a victim services advocate, contact Valdez-Welk at 874-2007 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A collaborative effort between the Delta County Sheriff's Office and municipal law enforcement agencies throughout Delta County has resulted in a proposal for a 1 percent sales tax increase to fund public safety. A PowerPoint presentation titled "Back the Badge" is starting to make the rounds at city/town council meetings, service club luncheons and other events.