Annual emphasis educates, advocates for victims’ rights

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 8, 2024

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Since 1981, Congress has declared one week each April as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. After a week concentrated on crime coverage in the tri-county area, we are reminded of the role local agencies and officers play in protecting and advocating for the rights of crime victims.

Charlotte Tesmer, District Attorney for the Second Judicial District, has a long list of families for whom she and her office have worked to ensure justice. She and her staff were on the scene when a Rutledge father was discovered murdered in his office in 2016. Her phone rings constantly with updates and information on current cases, pleas from families seeking justice and requests from reporters looking to inform local readers.

Tesmer and the victim services officers on her staff are also present at many parole hearings, when victims and families in Butler, Lowndes, and Crenshaw counties need a voice in whether the perpetrator will be released.

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April 21-27 marks the emphasis this year with the theme, “How would you help?” Law enforcement agencies, like the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office answer that question every day, working to bring justice to victims and their families.

In Lowndes County, over a seven-day span, Sheriff’s investigators worked the abuse case of a three-month-old baby hospitalized for potentially life-threatening injuries, then an arson situation and a homicide. All in an effort to bring justice to the victims.

“We work for the people,” explained Investigations Commander Tony Green. “I spoke with the baby’s grandmother and told her, ‘I’m here protecting your grandchild. I don’t know this child, but my job is to protect this baby.’”

All over America, people like Tesmer and Green along with other citizens and professionals are being honored for their extraordinary work supporting crime victims. We encourage our communities to thank all those who protect and advocate for victims’ rights.

And, to the ones in the trenches we say, “Thank you for what you do. We see you and we appreciate you!”