Meet your local police department: Victim Services Coordinator
by Luke Putvin
To continue the Lynnwood Times series on the inner-workings of the Lynnwood Police Department, we sat down with Tiffany Krusey-Kelly, Victim Services Coordinator.
Krusey-Kelly has been the Victim Services Coodinator since 2013, but she has worked in and around law enforcement since she was in her teens. She started working out of high school in retail loss prevention, worked for a different law enforcement agency in her 20s and when she had her son, she left for a couple years. After owning her own business where she worked as a private caretaker for awhile, she saw a job posted at the LPD working with victims of crimes in an advocacy position.
Krusey-Kelly had previously taken a field-training class taught by an LPD sergeant. “He told me if I ever wanted a job to apply in Lynnwood,” she said. “I was impressed by the way Lynnwood was handling things in the training of their officers.”
“I love my job,” Krusey-Kelly said. “I really love the people that work here. They’re wonderful, wonderful people and have done nothing but give me lots of support when working with victims of crime.”
An average day for Krusey-Kelly begins with her arriving to the department in the morning, about an hour before the municipal court begins. She will look over cases that deal with domestic violence and reach out to victims if she is able.
She provides victims information on the arraignment, the process of what is likely to occur and will let them know if there will potentially be bail set, if she was able to meet with the prosecutor.
Krusey-Kelly also asks them victim how they are feeling.
“I will tell [the victim] what my concerns are based on the information in the police report, and I will tell them they have a legal right to be present at the meeting,” she said. In some cases, the victim may not want to issue a no-contact order, or they may not feel they are in any danger. Based on the information in the police report, however, Krusey-Kelly may feel differently.
She will tell them, “I respect where you’re at, but these are the reasons why I feel differently. I will tell the court what you want, but I am also going to tell them what my concerns are.” She stressed that she is very up-front with the victims.
If Krusey-Kelly is unable to reach out to the victim but is concerned about the situation based on the police report, she will mention that at the arraignment and request a no-contact order.
“Lynnwood is very special,” Krusey-Kelly said. “We are lucky in Lynnwood; I am the only full-time Victim Services Coordinator in the county.” All others are part-time, and Mountlake Terrace’s Victim Coordinator also works on crime prevention. There are only a handful of cities in Snohomish County that have a Victim Services Coordinator integrated into the police department.
Another unique thing about Lynnwood is the fact that municipal court is right across the hall from Krusey-Kelly.
“Here, I have the ability to literally walk across the hall and be in our municipal court, and that is absolutely valuable for us because I have that immediate interaction with court, prosecutor and law-enforcement officers,” she said.
In addition to her work at the police station, Krusey-Kelly will sometimes be requested to give presentations at local businesses and churches talking about domestic violence, specifically from a law enforcement perspective.
“We have other great agencies in the area, Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County is one of them, and they do a ton of preventative workshops and talk to the kids in the middle schools,” Krusey-Kelly said. “The difference here is I’m talking about what happens when law enforcement gets called to the scene of a DV case because I think it’s kind of a mystery.” She mentioned that most people always think that an arrest will be made, but depending on the amount of evidence and the specifics of the individual incident, that may not be the case.
With October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Krusey-Kelly spoke about why that is important to her.
“I have kids… and my children are going to interact with other people, and they’re going to interact with people who have violence in their households,” she said. “Statistical studies show that children who witness DV have some of the same PTSD effects as combat veterans… because they never get away from it. They come home, and it happens; they go to bed, and it happens; they eat dinner, and it happens; they wake up, and it happens, and it never stops.” She also stated that, between those bouts of violence, they see people who love each other, and it confuses them.
One action taken by the City of Lynnwood was by the City Council unanimously passing the Exposing Children to Domestic Violence Ordinance. This ordinance would allow an individual exposing domestic violence to children to be considered a felony. Krusey-Kelly worked on this ordinance for two years and doing extensive research before bringing it to the council.
“Domestic violence can happen to any person who is of any gender, or identifies as any gender, any relationship status, culture, race, religion, socio-economic… it happens in every community,” Krusey-Kelly said. “The movement of the month is to recognize this as unacceptable, and if we hear it going on, we will call the police. Be a good witness.”
If you witness domestic violence, call 911. For information on local services for victims of domestic violence, visit Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County’s Website at www.dvs-snoco.org.