Officers’ efforts to help sexual assault victims commendable

In a lot of situations where sexual assaults occur, police officers can be vital by not only being there for victims during their time of crisis, but also in helping them by trying to get them to prosecute those who committed heinous crimes against them.

We hear of sexual assault cases all too often, and in many cases victims decide not to prosecute those who sexually assaulted them. No one can blame those who decide not to prosecute because in many cases they don’t want to re-live their experiences during a trial or face the person who assaulted them ever again. They simply want to move on with their lives.

There is no right or wrong in this.

But either way, victims interact with police officers, and in many cases police officers are the first person a victim reaches out to. How that officer responds to the victim can influence the victim’s decision on whether to proceed with prosecution.

We are fortunate to have a city police department that educates victims on the criminal justice process, which helps victims make more informed decisions on how their cases would proceed in the courts.

Officers who work closely with victims on a yearly basis deserve to be recognized, and we are glad Hope Harbor does that.

Hope Harbor, a local sexual trauma recovery center, held its 10-Star Award and Recognition Luncheon last week and recognized 10 police officers from several counties, with one officer, Bowling Green Police Department Officer Ryan Dillon, receiving the Lighthouse Award for exemplary service.

This is quite an honor for Dillon as the Lighthouse Award winner is said to be an exceptional individual with whom to work. The award truly shows his dedication to working closely with victims of sexual assault, providing them comfort and counseling them on how to proceed with prosecuting those who took advantage of them.

This would by no means be an easy task for any officer.

We congratulate Dillon on his dedication to working with victims and on this esteemed award. The other officers recognized for the award deserve to be congratulated as well for helping victims in their time of need.

While we are on the subject of police officers and all of the good they do, we would like to take this chance to honor five officers who were killed in the line of duty in Kentucky in 2015.

Richmond Police Department Officer Daniel Neil Ellis was shot and died Nov. 6. Kentucky State Police Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder was shot and died Sept. 13. KSP Trooper Eric Keith Chrisman died June 23 after an automobile wreck while working. Nicholasville Police Department Officer Jevon Rhoads died March 11 after an automobile wreck while working. Bullitt County Detention Center Lt. Clifford Scott Travis died March 5 of a heart attack while on duty. Warren and Simpson counties had ceremonies last week to honor their officers killed in the line of duty. Our hearts go out to them and their families for their losses.

Police officers are unfortunately becoming more and more portrayed by some as bad guys, but nothing could be further from the truth. They protect us, they provide us help when needed, they put their lives on the line every day for us and for that we should be eternally thankful to them.

The Daily News of Bowling Green

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