WATERBURY — The Vermont State Police has received two awards from the Center for Crime Victim Services, recognizing the agency’s longstanding focus on centering the needs of victims in all types of policework throughout Vermont.
The two award recipients are the Crime Scene Search Team, for the Ally Award, and Maj. Ingrid Jonas, for the Career Achievement Award.
“We’re honored, humbled and incredibly proud to accept this recognition from the Center for Crime Victim Services,” said Col. Matthew T. Birmingham, director of the Vermont State Police. “Throughout the state police, we know the work we do has a considerable effect on the victims of crime. Supporting victims isn’t just confined to one person or one office; it’s something all our members do every day. I want to extend my appreciation to everyone in the state police for their victim-centering work, and my thanks to the Center for Crime Victim Services for recognizing those efforts.”
The Ally Award was accepted by Sgt. Aimee Nolan and Sgt. Aron McNeil, the co-commanders of the Crime Scene Search Team, on behalf of the 20 members of the team. CCVS says the Ally Award “is given to a volunteer, professional or program who, outside of the course of performing their regular duties, has advocated for a victim-centered policy, implemented practices that have created significant changes for victims: specifically a person/program that has made a significant impact in support of victims, in policy revision, promotion of best practices within victim services or helping professions, crime/violence prevention; including activities that enhance offender accountability, community response to violence, and/or community outreach and education.”
In nominating the Crime Scene Search Team for the award, Vermont State Police Victim Services Director Kathryn Brayton wrote: “The importance of good forensic evidence in cases cannot be understated. Good evidence leads to rightful convictions, and justice for victims. Using the best collection methods, technology and care can make or break a case and can be the difference between a victim feeling well served by the criminal justice system or feeling unsatisfied with the process. When good forensic evidence is secured early on in an investigation arrests can be made more swiftly and victims can feel relief, increased safety and starting the long road of processing the trauma that has occurred.”
The Career Achievement Award “is given annually to a recipient who, throughout their career, has shown exceptional dedication to victim services and have changed the culture and practice of Vermont to be safer and more responsive to victims of crime,” according to CCVS. “The recipient of this award will be clearly deserving of a place in Vermont history beside other leaders in victim services.”
In nominating Maj. Jonas, Victim Services Director Brayton wrote: “Maj. Jonas has been working with victims of crime for 30 years. She started as an advocate for domestic violence and sexual violence cases in Burlington after college. During this time, she realized she may have a more direct and positive impact for victims by entering the field of law enforcement. Maj. Jonas has been at VSP for more than 20 years and has served as a trooper, detective sergeant, lieutenant, captain and major. During her time, her focus has been on crimes against women and children; on Fair and Impartial Policing; on serving marginalized communities in building healthier relationships with police; and on crafting policy and procedure that provides increased fairness for communities that are underserved and unjustly entangled in the criminal justice system.”
The awards were presented during a virtual ceremony held Monday, April 19 as part of the annual commemoration of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.