Sensitivity may not get police officers far in dealing with hardened criminals, but it is essential in helping victims of sexual and domestic violence.
That's why the nonprofit Advocates Against Battering and Abuse recognizes Routt County law enforcement officers who ensure victims are treated with respect.
Hayden police Officer Gordon Booco recently received Advocates' Officer of the Year honor.
"Gordon Booco has always been easy to work with, respectful with victims and understands our role," Advocates Executive Director Diane Moore said. "We are pleased to recognize these qualities that he has displayed in the years we have worked together."
Victims of sexual or domestic abuse deal with a lot of shame, guilt and loss of control, case manager Allison Plean said. Assisting those victims is about being sensitive to their needs and helping them regain power, she said.
Advocates assists victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence and their family members through crisis services, counseling, advocacy and community education.
The organization also operates a shelter that serves victims throughout Northwest Colorado. Advocates honors one or more officers in the county each year.
"We have always been aware that having a good working relationship with law enforcement is crucial to providing quality services to victims ... although we are confidential in the work we do, the collaboration is critical," Moore said.
Booco was not available to comment on receiving the award, but Police Chief Jody Lenahan said it was an honor to have Booco in the department.
"We're very pleased with Gordon and his work in that area," Lenahan said.
For more information on Advocates, visit www.advocatesaba.org.