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Press Release

June 30th 2022

Pennington County Sheriff’s Office (S.D.) Honored with Crime Victim Services Award

National Sheriffs’ Association recognizes advocates for exemplary service to vulnerable populations

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) Victim Specialist Program in Pennington County, South Dakota, has been honored as the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) 2022 Crime Victim Services Award winner. Accepting the award for this group are Sheriff Kevin Thom, Victim Specialist Scott Hultgren, and Captain Tony Harrison.

The NSA has chosen the PCSO Victim Specialist Program for their work improving victim services through partnerships and collaboration with local victim services organizations and law enforcement. The PCSO Victim Specialist Program has helped ensure that a victim’s first contact with law enforcement is a positive one, not only in the Pennington county jurisdiction but also statewide. It remains the only local law enforcement agency program of its kind.

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office has a long history of assisting victims of crime in South Dakota, especially victims in the Native American community. Since late 2016, the PCSO Victim Specialist Program has been assigned 1,239 criminal investigation cases. During that time, 1,946 people have been provided service. Sheriff Kevin Thom explains his vision for the PCSO Victim Specialist Program as: “Getting victims and families the right services at the right time and not letting victims fall through the cracks in the criminal justice system.”

Pennington County covers 2,800 square miles and 110,000 people in South Dakota, and it borders the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to the south. Four reservations are in close proximity. While 10% of the population of Pennington County is Native American, 45% of the crime victims served are Native American. The PCSO works to provide culturally competent services to Native American victims by providing training to staff and volunteers. On an ongoing basis, all post-Law Enforcement Academy new hires also receive cultural sensitivity training.

Established in 2005 with support from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), the NSA Crime Victim Services Award recognizes outstanding achievement by a sheriff’s office in support of victims, and is sponsored by Appriss Insights, an Equifax Company — the nation’s leading provider of victim notification services and developer of VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday).

About the National Sheriffs’ Association

The National Sheriffs’ Association is one of the largest associations of law enforcement professionals in the U.S., representing more than 3,000 elected Sheriffs across the nation, and with a total membership of more than 13,000. NSA is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the level of professionalism among Sheriffs, their deputies, and others in the field of law enforcement, public safety, and criminal justice. Throughout its eighty-year history, NSA has also served as an information resource for all law enforcement, as well as State governments and the Federal government.

About Appriss Insights

At Insights, an Equifax Company, we deliver solutions that reduce risk and help keep workplaces and communities safe. As the nation’s most comprehensive, trusted source of risk and criminal justice intelligence, we provide breakthrough data and analytics solutions that help government agencies and commercial enterprises improve community safety and reduce people-based risk. We continue to operate the most advanced, widely used system for crime victim and survivor notification, VINE® – relied upon by millions of citizens throughout the country every day for timely, reliable information on offender custody status. To learn more, visit www.apprissinsights.com.