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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.

 Jen’s tenacity, 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 honored. 


Award Presentation:

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.