Susan Nalley is a law enforcement victim witness coordinator in Bingham County. | Andrea Olson, EastIdahoNews.com
BLACKFOOT — Behind the scenes of cases involving domestic battery, sexual assault and violent crimes is a “beacon of hope” and support for victims.
Susan Nalley is a law enforcement victim witness coordinator. Her office sits inside the Bingham County Courthouse and has a sign that says “Victim Services.” It’s near the Blackfoot Police Department and the Bingham County Sheriff’s Office.
Inside her office, she has multiple signs hanging along her wall that say, “Every victim deserves a voice,” and “Be fearless,” along with “Believe in yourself. Never give up.”
“One of my goals as a law enforcement victim witness coordinator is to treat victims with respect and dignity as they take that step to seek help, letting the victims know that they are being heard and valued is vital when they disclose what may be the most traumatic event in their lives,” Nalley said.
Nalley helps victims in different cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, such as domestic violence, sex crimes, vehicular manslaughter and even murder.
“With any of the sex crime cases, if the victim wants to come forward, I meet with the victim, the detective meets with the victim, there’s a prosecutors meeting with one of their legal assistants,” Nalley said as she explained part of the process.
Outside of the Bingham County Courthouse. | EastIdahoNews.com file photo
She said she tries to meet with the victim as quickly as she can to let the victim know that she is there to help.
“The criminal justice system can be hard. The victims have to testify at the hearings, and so those can be a little traumatizing for them,” she said.
Nalley makes sure that after a hearing, the victim has a counselor or a safe place to go to.
She helps hundreds of people throughout the year, if not more.
“I help victims keep informed of what their rights are and what they are entitled to through the system so they are not just left out, not knowing anything,” she said.
Below is a list of some of the help that Nalley provides:
Assistance in applying for crime victim’s compensation. This assists victims of violent crimes with expenses such as medical and counseling costs.
Assistance in applying for civil protection orders. This is a document issued by a civil court that orders the person who is abusing, harassing or stalking the victim to stop doing so.
Educate victims on the criminal justice process.
Accompaniment and moral support in the courtroom, when needed.
Request extra patrol for victims’ home when needed.
Sign up for VINE, which sends notifications to victims so they know when a suspect is released from jail.
“If they live in Bingham County, we try to use our resources in Bingham County. We have amazing resources here,” Nalley said.
Nalley said that sometimes, when a victim is first contacted by her, they can be stressed because they don’t know what to do.
“We sit down and say, ‘OK, what is your immediate needs? Do you need shelter because you need to get away from the person? Do we need hotels? Medical attention?’ (We also ask) if they need food boxes or clothing or hygiene products,” she said.
There are plenty of resources in the community, like the Bingham Crisis Center, SEICAA and the Community Dinner Table, among others.
“Bingham County really pulls through,” Nalley said. “I have people who make stuffed animals and blankets so little kiddos can leave with a blanket or stuffed animal when they are in (my office) because sometimes their mom and dad could be in here for a while.”
Some of the stuffed animals and blankets inside Susan Nalley’s office. | Andrea Olson, EastIdahoNews.com
Nalley likes helping people. Her job is bittersweet too because some of the men, women and children needing her help have gone through horrific experiences.
“I meet some really amazing people who are going through a very, very tough time I wish they weren’t going through,” Nalley said through tears. “My most favorite part of the job is the people I get to meet and work with, and it’s my hardest part of my job because they have been victimized.”
She enjoys seeing the people she helps find light at the end of the tunnel.
“It is nice to see the transformation in a victim from when they started the court process and now they are out of it, and they are able to move on. They come back in and say, ‘Hey, I just got my master’s degree,’ and I am like, ‘You did!?’” she said.
Her role is important to the community and people like Capt. Wes Wheatley with the Blackfoot Police Department expressed how she has helped.
“There’s a beacon of hope and support for victims in the form of our victim witness coordinator. Susan’s role is instrumental in bridging the gap between victims, law enforcement and the judicial system,” Wheatley said in an email to EastIdahoNews.com. “Her work assists in the healing of victims, helping them regain their sense of safety and control.”
Wheatley said he first met Nalley in 2008 when he was a youth patrol officer. He learned then how valuable she was to the Blackfoot Police Department and the community.
“Her dedication, empathy and commitment to serving victims was very evident. Over the years, her tireless efforts have only strengthened,” he said. “She has become a pillar of our community, consistently going above and beyond to assist victims, guiding them through the judicial system with compassion and understanding.”
Bingham County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jordyn Nebeker echoed Wheatley and added she leaves a significant impact.
“What we tell her all the time is that she just has one of those jobs that the impact she has is truly immeasurable. You can’t measure it. We would find out the hard way if she was gone what her impact was, and we definitely want her to be around for quite some time longer, and I am sure everybody in the community agrees,” Nebeker said.
Nalley wants to continue her job as long as she can. She loves what she does, and she wants people to know she’s here to help.
“I am hoping that the community knows that we are here for them. If you just have a question, just come in,” Nalley said.
Nalley isn’t the only victim witness coordinator in eastern Idaho. There are others in surrounding counties. When a case is filed, typically the victim witness coordinator will reach out to victims.
The post ‘Her work assists in the healing of victims.’ Victim witness coordinator in Bingham County shares how she helps her community appeared first on East Idaho News.