SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT RECEIVES VICTIM ASSISTANCE GRANT

SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT RECEIVES VICTIM ASSISTANCE GRANT

The Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department has been awarded a three-year, federal grant to expand services to victims of crimes in northern Doña Ana County.

In a letter dated last week, the Department of Justice notified Sheriff Juan Hernandez his department was awarded the Victim Services in Rural Law Enforcement grant, for which he applied last July. This is the third such grant awarded to Hernandez’s department.

“I saw a need to enhance my victim-assistance programs and policies, to reach more residents more efficiently,” Hernandez said.

The grant will be disbursed in increments of $30,000 the first year, $70,000 the second year and $40,000 the third. In the first year of the funding, Hernandez will hire an additional victim-assistance advocate, who will be assigned to the department’s Hatch substation.

Out of the Hatch substation, the advocate will assist residents in the northern communities of the county, including Garfield, Rodey, Rincon, Milagro, Salem and other “often geographically isolated rural areas,” Hernandez said.

“Some victims live where public transportation is nonexistent. Through these grants, the department can provide much more efficient and better services to these victims,” Hernandez said.

Services offered to victims of crimes include crisis counseling, follow-up contact, shelter/safe-house referral, criminal justice support/advocacy, emergency legal advocacy, transportation, network referrals to local community agencies and information and application assistance for Crime Victims Reparation Commission benefits.

The department’s Las Cruces main station and the Anthony substation have victim-assistance advocates supporting their respective surrounding areas.

For more information, call Grant A. Taylor, assistant to the director of public information, at (505) 647-7290. Anyone calling from outside the Las Cruces area may call toll-free at 1-877-827-7200 and request extension 7290.