Sheriff applying for a grant to hire a victim advocate

BEDFORD – Sheriff Mike Branham requested permission from the commissioners Tuesday morning to apply for a $200,000 grant. If received this will allow the department to hire a victim advocate.

The two year grant will be 100 percent funded. $200,000 will be used to hire an advocate with benefits, do training, and buy needed supplies.

A victim advocate provides on-scene crisis counseling and follow-up services to victims of crime. They also advocate for victims’ rights during the criminal justice process.

Sheriff Mike Branham

“They will be called to the scenes to help with domestic violence, sexual assault, or child abuse victims,” added Sheriff Branham. “They will help provide or seek services for the victims. Then there will be a warm hand-off to the Prosecutor’s Office victim advocate who will help them through the court process.”

Advocates will also provide information and referrals to families coping with the loss of a loved one due to suicide, mental health resources, homeless resources, and assist families caring for a loved one with dementia/Alzheimer’s.

In other business, Sheriff Branham reported there were 155 inmates which equates to 86 percent capacity. Discounting the numbers during 2020 and 2021 due to COVID, in 2019 during the same time frame, there were 155 inmates in the jail. “During that summer, we saw numbers over 200.”

The Sheriff, the jail staff, and Lexipol are updating the jail’s policy manual. Lexipol¬†provides public safety policy and training solutions along with a wellness app for public safety and local government.

“The manual has not been updated since 2013,” added Sheriff Branham. “This is a really great system and provides daily training bulletins and emails the officers must participate in.”

In other news, recently the department has received several complaints about speeding motorists on county roads. Sheriff Branham and Brandi Webb interim Highway Superintendent will be conducting traffic studies on those roads and will present their recommendations to the commissioners on posting possible speed limit signs.