KSU Office of Victim Services earns public safety award
The KSU Office of Victim Services staff – director Tanya Smith, victim services coordinator Kelly Burkes and victim advocate Jessica Aguirre – were honored as part of Public Safety Appreciation Week. The Cobb Chamber’s Award of Merit is given in recognition of acts of courage, demonstrating genuine care and concern for the citizens of the community and going above and beyond the call of duty.
“I am very proud that the work of our Office of Victim Services is noticed and that the Cobb Chamber of Commerce has recognized them with this award,” said University Police Chief Edward Stephens. “The three-person OVS staff does a tremendous job every year and I am proud of what they accomplish. They provide a vital and unique service to the KSU community, and their level of dedication and caring is evident in all that they do.”
Supported largely through grant funding, Kennesaw State’s Office of Victim Services is the only such office at any university in Georgia. The OVS is available 365 days a year to support students, faculty and staff in the aftermath of a crime on or off campus through services such as attending court hearings with the victim, developing a safety plan and obtaining orders for protection, providing referrals for counseling and/or medical care, and being a liaison to address any concerns with academics or campus services.
The Office of Victim Services participates in KSU events such as Campus Safety Days, Wellness on Wheels, Fuel for Finals, a survivor panel for domestic violence awareness and the health resource fair. Also, Smith has made presentations at several events off campus, including a National Police Week seminar on the opioid crisis in the United States and a roundtable in Washington, D.C., on preventing overdoses on college campuses.
In addition to the OVS, Field Intelligence Officer Greg Stacy was recognized as a Cobb County Officer of the Year nominee.
Stacy joined the KSU Police Department in 2013 as a dispatcher and rose through the ranks, becoming a certified crime scene technician and a uniformed officer. He recently volunteered for the newly formed Field Intelligence Officers program, an intelligence unit that works closely with KSU’s Criminal Investigations Division and gathers and shares gang-related information with multiple jurisdictions.
Stacy was nominated for a Cobb Chamber award for his exemplary job performance as well as the leadership, teamwork and professionalism he demonstrates, according to Stephens. In Stacy’s free time, he assists with teaching RAD (rape aggression defense) classes to the community.
“Officer Stacy sets a great example and is a role model to his peers and the community he serves,” Stephens said. “His positive attitude encourages other team members to be confident and enthusiastic in their duties, and his empathy attracts fellow officers throughout the department to seek advice and guidance from his experiences.”
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.