By JOSH NICHOLS
Daily Press writer
Moffat County Sheriff's Deputy Gary Nichols was recently recognized for his dedication and passion in helping victims in crisis situations.
Advocates Crisis Support Services recognized Nichols as the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for 2001 because of his willingness to help victims and cooperate with Advocates.
When a crisis situation occurs, law enforcement officials are the first on the scene to provide assistance and help those at risk.
When they're finished, Advocates crisis counselors are there to offer a victim further support.
In order to provide the highest quality of victim support, the two agencies must cooperate with one another, which is why Advocates annually recognizes the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.
The award is presented to an officer who demonstrates a commitment to victim's rights and working with victim advocates.
"Nichols' working relationship with victim advocates is professional and reflective of his personal commitment to the rights of crime victims," said Pat Tessmer, executive director of Advocates.
"We look for people who work on behalf of citizens in the community," Tessmer said. "He's very professional and passionate when he works with Advocates. He values the services that Advocates provides."
Advocates workers and volunteers had an opportunity to nominate law enforcement officials in early October.
Nichols was nominated by four different advocates.
Criteria for nomination and selection included leadership, commitment, integrity, outstanding service and working relationship with victim advocates.
"Deputy Nichols more than met the criteria," Tessmer said. "Comments on the nomination forms site his treatment of victims as respectful, supportive, knowledgeable and professional with his greatest strength being his ability to quietly communicate his compassion, understanding and support."
Nichols said Advocates' services makes his job and other law enforcement officers' jobs easier.
"Advocates is a tremendous help to law enforcement with respect to situations involving crises," Nichols said. "We do our investigation and then let them come in and help. Without the Advocates our job would be much more difficult."
Because of Advocates help, Nichols said law enforcement officers can concentrate on the job they have to do.
"The way I see it, it's a team effort," he said. "I appreciate it when they show up on the scene. It frees us up to do our investigation. I'd just like to thank all the Advocates for what they've done for the past several years."
Nichols was presented a plaque by Tessmer at the Moffat County Police Department Christmas party.
"Deputy Nichols continues to serve the people of Moffat County in a manner that is quietly effective, highly competent, and sincerely compassionate," she said. "He has earned our respect and appreciation as an outstanding law enforcement officer, co-worker and individual."