In photo left to right: Jenna Wheale, Cori Mazzitti, Tanya Daniels, Heather Siler, Jamie Hanlon, Tony Barber
(seated) Jessica Stoddard, Amy Rosenberry, Jennifer Gettle, Kandice Chapman, Emily Pae, Kim Sourbeer
Allied Professional Award
Nominator: Amy Rosenberry, Executive Director, Victim/Witness Assistance Program (Dauphin County)
Award Recipient: Jennifer Gettle, Chief Deputy District Attorney, Dauphin County District Attorney's Office
Empowerment and enthusiasm
are but minor words that come to mind when reflecting on the work of Chief
Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Gettle. It is without effort that she knocks
down doors for victims, holding prosecution to a higher standard and enabling
victims to gain strength in their journey.
Although Jen is a
stellar prosecutor, she’s an advocate in her own right. With perseverance and
an ability to embody the essence of advocacy, she shows victims what they are
truly capable of. She confirms in them that they are not the product of a
tragedy or series of tragic events, but instead a warrior.
One occasion when Jen
harnessed a victim’s capabilities to overcome and face their fears was a
preliminary hearing involving a violent domestic violence offender. The offender
forced his partner to stand on a chair for three hours and violently abused
him. The Defendant pressed for a hearing and forced the terrified victim to
take the stand. Jen, who knew the victim was capable of holding the offender
accountable for his actions, motivated him with her inspiring words, and fought
on his behalf. He remembered her encouragement throughout his case and
repeatedly mentioned her in conversation. As is the case for many victims,
Jen’s efforts will stay with him forever.
Jen not only supports
Victim/Witness, but often will ensure she has honored the request of a victim
and has accomplished what we as advocates feel is appropriate. Despite her
overwhelming schedule, Jen is quick to respond, as she understands a victim’s
need for answers. Jen doesn’t view her role as solely a prosecutor: When a need
is present for a victim, she fulfills the need. She is the embodiment of wisdom
and fortitude and has a true heart for our clients.
creativity, and innovation was present in the implementation of dog therapy in
Dauphin County. A child victim was not able to testify against her abusive
stepfather and attempted suicide to avoid this overwhelming hurdle. Jen was
overcome with empathy and identified an area where the victim seemed to find
comfort. While visiting her at a local mental health inpatient facility, Jen
noticed how the victim felt relief in “puppy therapy.” Within a few weeks, she
implemented the program, gaining the approval of our President Judge, and
arranging meetings to acclimate the victim to her therapy dog. This program
will most assuredly be a sense of comfort for clients in the future.
There is no question
that Jennifer Gettle is the epitome of a victim focused prosecutor. Jen has a
personal connection with her clients and empowers them to overcome tragedy.
With creativity and innovation, she ensures victims’ rights are upheld and
Ms. Gettle was presented the award on May 9th, during the 14th Pathways for Victim Services Conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
On behalf of victims of crime and the victim services field, we thank you, Ms. Gettle, for your innovation, collaboration, and unfailing commitment to victims of crime.