Nearly two weeks after ASU police officers started wearing teal badges for sexual assault awareness month, two are being are being recognized with awards from different national organizations.
Lynn Spillers, a victim advocate for ASU Police Criminal Investigations Bureau was given the National Organization for Victim Assistance 2017 Honored Victim Advocate Award, and ASU Police Chief Michael Thompson was recognized as a Champion of Change by the End Violence Against Women International campaign.
NOVA, who presented Spillers with her award, works to "champion dignity and compassion for those harmed by crime and crisis," according to its website.
Spillers said she focuses on representing victims and helping them with their rights.
“I’ve always been interested in the criminal justice system and I’ve always loved helping people,” Spillers said. “I saw how difficult it was for victims to go through the criminal process and I wanted to be a support system for them.”
Spillers said that all victims should have a place to turn.
“I’m honored to work with victims who have been through something traumatic and they trust you to support them,” Spillers said. “I strongly feel that every victim should be aware of their rights and resources and feel supported throughout the entire process.”
Spillers said the department has made lots of progress since she started there.
“Since I started we have, with the help of the non-profit Winged Hope, remodeled our special victims unit waiting and interview rooms,” Spillers said. “That to me is such an important statement, showing that we want victims to feel safe and comfortable where they can come to a police department feel well supported.”
Spillers said that she hopes to see more advocates like herself in the future.
“Currently, I am the only advocate for ASU Police Department and handle all four campuses. I would love to grow the victim services team and have an advocate at other campuses,” she said.
Thompson is also being recognized by the End Violence Against Women International campaign for the police department's efforts to combat sexual violence.
Thompson said in an email that he appreciates the honor, but doesn’t deserve all the credit for the award.
“It’s always nice to be acknowledged for efforts being made but the recognition really belongs to the men and women of the ASU Police Department and all their hard work and dedication,” Thompson said. “What this award means to me is that the ASU Police Department is being recognized for its efforts and not just me.”
Thompson also said that there was still work to be done.
“This in no way means we have arrived at the pinnacle nor will we ever stop reaching for it but it is nice to stop for a moment and recognize the efforts being made by all who work here,” Thompson said.
Katy Harris, the public information officer for ASU police, said that this is the first time the department has been recognized for their sexual assault efforts on this level.
Harris echoed Thompson’s view that the department is not complacent in receiving these awards and will continue to better its services.
“These awards resemble our commitment to the safety and well-being of ASU students, faculty and staff,” Harris said. “With that being said, we also know that there is always room for improvement. We look forward to keep progressing as a professional and proactive law enforcement agency.”