Wetaskiwin and District Victim Services Celebrates 25th Anniversary

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When Wetaskiwin and District Victim Services was created, it did not generate much enthusiasm. Twenty-five years later, he is an integral part of the community.

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Speaking at a small rally at the Best Western Wayside Inn last week to mark the event, Cpl. Kevin Krebs said he was new to the RCMP when Victim Services Units were created.

“At the time, we were like what? – we cannot have civilians in the building looking at our records,” he said. “It was very off-putting at first, but we quickly saw the value of the program.”

The Wetaskiwin Victim Services Unit is police based and operates out of the Wetaskiwin RCMP Detachment to provide 24 hour crisis response.

Their role is to provide those affected by crime and tragedy with information, support and referral from the moment of the incident and throughout the criminal process.

“We can work with someone for years,” said Petra Pfeiffer, executive director of victim services.

The Wetaskiwin Victim Services Unit is governed by the Wetaskiwin and District Victim Services Society, managed by an Executive Director and staffed primarily by volunteer Victim Services Advocates.

The Board of Directors is made up of representatives from the greater Wetaskiwin community and the Wetaskiwin RCMP Detachment area. The Society is a not-for-profit organization with charitable status.

Although they receive financial assistance from the Town of Wetaskiwin, Wetaskiwin FCSS, Wetaskiwin County, County FCSS, Town of Millet, Millet FCSS and the provincial government, they also host fundraising events , such as the annual Charity Checkstop.

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All volunteers and staff are certified by the Solicitor General of Alberta and must be able to receive and maintain an enhanced security clearance from the RCMP.

“It takes a special person to work with victims,” ​​said Victim Services Chair Jeannie Blakely. “Without all these wonderful volunteers, we wouldn’t be here tonight.”

“Police are generally detached,” Krebs said. “We go to a call, we do our job and we forget that the victims are people who don’t see things the same way we do. When Victim Services shows up, it’s invaluable and now they’re an integral part of our detachment. They are an advantage for the detachment; to the community and the people they help.

Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin MP Rick Wilson also admits that victim services were not seen as a vital resource at first when it came to municipal funding.

Wilson said that when he was on Wetaskiwin County Council, Blakely was then the executive director and she came to the council looking for support and funding.

“She was meeting a bunch of old guys who were more interested in the cost of gravel roads,” he said.

Through her diligence, Wetaskiwin County understood the value of victim services and has been a strong supporter of the program for the past two decades. This support has also extended to the Government of Alberta, which also provides financial assistance.

“It’s a special night for you and I want to honor you all for the work you do,” he said.

County Warden Josh Bishop echoed those sentiments, saying, “The county is proud to be a long-time supporter of victim services.”

Millet Mayor Doug Peel was also present and thanked the volunteers for the unique service they provide to the community.

“You should be proud…to make a difference in the lives of people in need.”

“(Victim Services) are absolutely necessary and invaluable and the city owes them an enormous debt of gratitude,” said Wetaskiwin Mayor Tyler Gandam.

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