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Kent County Sheriff’s Office seeks volunteers for Victim Services Unit

Kent County Sheriff’s Office seeks volunteers for Victim Services Unit

KENT COUNTY—The Kent County Sheriff’s Office is looking for citizens who are willing to walk beside others in our community during their darkest times. The KCSO Victim Services Unit is a volunteer group that provides immediate, short-term support and resources to those affected by an unexpected death.  These volunteers are on-call and work directly with our deputies in the field at the scene of a call.  

This is often overlooked, but any time a person dies and is not under direct care and supervision of a licensed medical provider (hospital or hospice), a police officer must respond to the scene.  In 2021, KCSO deputies responded to roughly 332 calls involving a death. This includes natural deaths, homicides, suicides, drug overdoses, and fatal car crashes. This not only takes a toll on first responders, but each number also represents even more family and friends who are going through their own unique grief.  

Our Victim Advocates join law enforcement when making a death notification, sit with those affected, answer questions, and make sure support reaches those who need it. This is difficult work, but this is one way you can have an impact on your community.  

Victim Advocate Requirements: 

  • *Commit to being on-call for 7 days (6 a.m.-6 p.m.) or nights (6 p.m.-6 a.m.) every month including their fair share of weekends and holidays being on call.
  • *Possess great listening skills, compassion, and a willingness to focus on others. 
  • *Attend a 20-hour weekend training, monthly debriefings, and 12 continuing education hours per year. 
  • *Volunteers must be 18 years old or older and willing to complete a background check.  

Training is offered not only by the KCSO, but the Michigan Sheriff’s Association VSU Training Team.  

If you have interest in joining, please contact Victim Services Unit Coordinator AJ Emery at ajemery@kentcountymi.gov or 616.632.6221.

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