Larimer County seeking volunteer victims advocates

By Dan Karpiel

The Surveyor

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) is seeking volunteers for the Victim Response Team (VRT). Volunteer victims’ advocates who work with VRT professionals are trained individuals who assist fellow citizens by offering emotional support and crisis intervention.

The VRT was established in 1994 and provides assistance to victims of crimes as well as to those who have been affected by suicides or have issues pertaining to unattended deaths, family problems, fires, missing persons, and death notifications. The program is on-going 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to all areas of the county; the VRT has at least two volunteers on call at all times.  

VRT volunteers provide on-scene assistance, emotional support, information on referrals and resources, information regarding state programs for Victim Compensation Assistance which provides financial compensation for crime victims and assistance with bond hearings. Volunteers also become knowledgeable about legal rights to which victims are entitled under title 24 of the Colorado Statutes so as to assist victims in acquiring state assistance.

According to a press release provided by LCSO, “Victim advocates are trained to offer emotional support and crisis intervention to crime victims in Larimer County. Advocates provide information on the criminal justice system, resources in the community, aid in acquiring emergency shelter, and facilitate other immediate needs. They also conduct follow-up assistance by providing victim compensation benefits information as well as updates on the status and progression of a victim’s case through preliminary stages of the judicial system.”

Volunteers will be asked to be on call for four to six 12-hour shifts per month and volunteers’ schedules are taken into consideration when scheduling on-call times. Volunteers will be under the direct supervision of the county’s Victim Response Coordinator and will be required to attend monthly support and training meetings as well as occasional patrol briefings and other area meetings.

Those interested in volunteering must be 21 years of age, residents of Larimer County, have a valid driver’s license, have a high school diploma or GED, and be able to pass a criminal background check. Applications for the positions are being accepted at this time and volunteers who are selected will be required to take a 40-hour training program which will begin in October.

Further information regarding volunteer positions with the VRT as well as an online application can be found at https://www.larimer.org/sheriff/investigations/victim-response-team. Susan Johnston, Victim Response Team Coordinator, can also be reached with questions at (970) 498-5149 or [email protected]

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