On November 14, 2019, Ouray Interim Police Chief Gary Ray, in association with the District Attorney’s Office and the Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW) Project, hosted an all-day training about improving the response and investigation of sex assault crimes. Sixty-two people attended the event at the Ouray Community Center. Attendees included professionals from health and human services agencies, victim’s advocacy groups, mental health providers, law enforcement personnel, and the district attorney’s office.
EVAW Executive Director Linda Johnston conducts trainings in rural districts across Colorado and commented that this large turnout exhibits the strong commitment our community has in working together and improving the response and investigation of these serious crimes.
Topics included trauma informed victim interviewing, drug and alcohol facilitated sexual assaults, child forensic interviewing, sexual assault nurse exams, and advanced investigation techniques.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Seth D. Ryan, who taught the advanced investigations section, talked about the importance of groups working together to support sexual assault victims. Ryan observed: “I was impressed that so many of our communities were represented. We had participation from Delta, Montrose, Mountain Village, Ouray, Ridgway, San Miguel, and Telluride. Only by working together as a team can we do what is necessary to hold sexual predators accountable.”
Several Law Enforcement attended the training, including Ouray County Sheriff Lance Fitzgerald, Ouray Police Department Interim Chief Gary Ray, Mt. Village Police Department Deputy Chief B.B. Burke, Olathe Police Chief Rogelio Pacheco and Ridgway Marshal Shane Schmaltz. “Leadership starts at the top,” said Ryan. “It is great that these leaders made time to set an example for our younger officers and to send a message that this topic is of critical importance.”
Linda Johnston and Seth Ryan want to acknowledge and thank therapist Kate Kissingford for reaching out to EVAW to help bring this valuable training to our communities.
Above photo: LE Leadership (from left to right: Chief Deputy District Attorney Ryan, Ridgway Marshal Schmalz, Mt. Village Police Dept. Deputy Chief Burke, Olathe Police Chief Pacheco and Ouray County Sheriff Fitzgerald)