WISE recognizes law enforcement officers for support of domestic violence survivors

Local law enforcement officers were recognized for their support and work with survivors of domestic violence by members of the Women’s Information Service, Inc. Domestic Violence Response Team. From back left: Mike Forbes; Danae Langan; Officer Riley Carlson, Big Rapids Department of Public Safety; Paula Garver; Sergeant Mike Mohr, Mecosta County Sheriff’s Department; Undersheriff Jim Taylor, Mecosta County Sheriff’s Department; Trooper Brian Lucha, Michigan State Police; Chief John Beam, Evart Police Department and Sergeant Gary Hooper, Osceola County Sheriff’s Department. From front left: Betty Seelye, Denise Heugel, Angela Thomas, Kathleen Cook and Jane Currie. (Pioneer photos/Taylor Fussman)

PARIS — Local law enforcement were extended a token of gratitude for their support and work with survivors of domestic violence.

During their regular meeting on Wednesday, members of the Women’s Information Service, Inc. Domestic Violence Response Team (WISE DVRT) presented members of the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety – Police Division, Mecosta County Sheriff’s Department, Michigan State Police, Evart Police Department and Osceola County Sheriff’s Department with certificates of appreciation in recognition of the work they do to assist WISE.

WISE Executive Director Jane Currie said the agency is grateful to have the help from law enforcement in dealing with domestic violence situations.

“We never want you to think we feel anything other than heartfelt-gratitude,” she said. “The cooperation we have from all of you makes such a difference in the lives of the survivors that we serve.”

Kathleen Cook, WISE legal advocate, added the organization and survivors of domestic violence benefit from the relationship between WISE and law enforcement.

“WISE relies a lot on you guys to help our survivors, to help us help survivors,” she said.

Currie explained simply having an officer present during a domestic violence situation can have a significant impact on the end result.

“What people don’t realize is many times just having police presence with an agitated incident at our shelter deescalates that situation,” Currie said.

Sergeant Gary Hooper, with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department, was one of several local law enforcement officers to receive a token of appreciation from Women’s Information Service, Inc. members on Wednesday.

In addition to expressing their appreciation and discussing the importance of working with law enforcement, members of WISE DVRT asked the officers in attendance how the relationship between the two agencies can be strengthened.

Sergeant Mike Mohr, with the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Department, said communication is necessary because it helps the survivors know the police are there to help them.

“I think it’s important to keep the communication lines open between you guys and the other agencies, other groups, prosecutor’s office and victim advocates, just to keep that relationship going,” he said.

Cook said as a legal advocate, she tries to work with survivors in understanding the role law enforcement will play in assisting them.

“A lot of people I’ve met with are terrified to talk to the police. In my job, I take the time and explain to them what’s going to happen when they talk to you, that you are on their side,” she said to the officers. “We really appreciate you guys taking the time to work with us and work with our survivors.”

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