We Are One Team!

by William Daniels

Like it or not, we are inextricably bound to each other by our life experiences. What affects one directly usually affects others indirectly, at some point. At least that was the prevailing theme during the 9th Annual Gulf States LECC/Victim-Witness Conference, in Tampa, Florida, in November. Close to 250 participants from the states of Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas remained engaged throughout the entire three days of in-depth presentations from subject-matter experts. Focused around the issues of coordinated services among law enforcement agencies, service providers, and victims’ advocates, this year’s event was the second to be held in the Middle District of Florida. Newly appointed U.S. Attorney A. Brian Allbritton opened the conference, along with Assistant Attorney General Elisebeth Cook and Deputy Director Barbara Walker from the U.S. Department of Justice/Office for Victims of Crime.

Each day was filled with exhaustive content in specialized areas, including topics on trauma, stress, the mentally ill, elder and homeless populations, bias-motivated crimes, endangered children, child exploitation, missing persons, and human trafficking. No one walked away empty-handed from this robust agenda. More importantly, the multi-day forum afforded attendees the opportunity to network amongst their peers and colleagues, hence creating some new and strengthening other established relationships. Whether challenged by new information, or simply reinvigorated by the spirit of camaraderie, conferees made it a point to convey their satisfaction to the hosts.

In challenging times, such as these, it is no small feat to prepare, plan, practice and implement such critical initiatives for our communities. But, this conference proved that it can be done through the power of partnership! In this vein, the RCPI, USAO/Middle District of Florida, and their many partners continue to stay ahead of the curve – working to achieve a common goal. This example of arduous teamwork and public enterprise goes a long way in effectively serving the communities throughout the state of Florida and the nation.

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