The Big Horn County Sheriff’s Department and Sheriff Ken Blackburn received the Leadership in Advocacy award presented by the Wyoming Coalition Against Violence and Sexual Assault (WCADVSA). The award was presented to Blackburn at the annual P.E.A.C.E. awards on Feb. 28 at the Little America Hotel in Cheyenne. Many government officials attended, including Gov. Matt Mead, who shook Blackburn’s hand after the presentation.
“One thing I want to emphasize is that this was a team award, and there is no ‘I’ in the word team,” said Blackburn. “We have great people throughout Big Horn County who are doing a great job of working on these kinds of cases and we work together on these cases.”
According to a WCADVSA press release, under Sheriff Blackburn’s leadership, victims in Big Horn County have been treated with respect and kindness, which has gained the public’s confidence and resulted in the reporting, investigation and prosecution of victim-related crimes. The release went on to commend the sheriff’s commitment to training deputies on victim issues and for his deputies’ knowledge and care for victims, which has led to greater attention to domestic violence and sexual assault crimes.
“We’ve really worked hard to increase our level of training to work better with the County Attorney and to meet the needs of the advocacy groups and to make tighter, more effective cases that can be prosecuted successfully,” explained Blackburn.
Blackburn noted that he saw a spike in domestic violence after the holidays. He also noted an increase in serious violence in recent months.
“I saw more serious violence this winter than I think I’ve ever seen,” said Blackburn. “We saw a homicide in Cody, a shooting in Powell, a stabbing in Shell and a shooting in Cowley.”
Blackburn made it clear that he and his department maintain a “zero” tolerance for any type of violence, especially domestic violence and child abuse.
By Patti Carpenter