Individual Direct Service Award
Award Recipient: Cindy Keeney, Executive Director, Adams County Victim Witness Assistance Program
Nominator: Amber Lane, Assistant District Attorney, Adams County District Attorney's Office
Award Presented By: Jennifer Storm, Victims' Services Advisory Committee Member
Ms. Cindy Keeney has been with the Adams County Victim Witness Assistance Program since 1997, first as the Victim/Witness Coordinator and currently as the Executive Director. Throughout her tenure, Ms. Keeney has exemplified the meaning of "victim advocate" through her attention to advocating for and meeting the needs of victims. She has also displayed leadership in the county's criminal justice community through her work to bring innovative programs designed to assist both victims and offenders in Adams County.
In her role as victim advocate, Ms. Keeney has gone the extra mile in attending to the needs of victims. For example, the Adams County District Attorney's Office recently was involved with the investigation and prosecution of the murder of wildlife Conservation Officer David Grove. Throughout this high-profile, emotionally charged case, Ms. Keeney was instrumental gathering resources to assist the victims and witnesses present for the two week long trial. Ms. Keeney sought out community assistance and donations to secure meals for over 30 law enforcement officers and family members of Officer Grove who were present during the trial. She also secured a private area for them separate from the media and public in which they could have a hot meal and ask questions about the proceedings. She even found complimentary local overnight accommodations for the immediate family members of Officer Grove during the duration of the trial to ensure the family didn't need to travel each day to be present at the proceedings. In the weeks following the conviction and sentencing, Ms. Keeney continued to provide support, crisis intervention and debriefing to Officer Grove's family, fellow officers and the District Attorney's prosecutorial team.
During the two years since she assumed the position of Executive Director, Ms. Keeney has been a driving force behind the implementation of several innovative practices in Adams County's criminal justice system. These include the creation of a specialized family justice division, a crisis intervention response team and a DUI victim impact program. The family justice division within her office is staffed with an experienced advocate trained in providing ongoing support to victims of sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence. The crisis intervention response team is a dedicated group of victim advocates and law enforcement officers specially trained to recognize defendants with mental health problems, provide them with necessary supervision and care in an effort that ultimately leads to greater victim safety. The DUI victim impact panel provides an opportunity for victims of DUI crashes to share their stories in an effort to educate offenders on supervision for DUI-related crimes and attempt to deter them from future crimes.
Ms. Keeney continually seeks to educate her community and advocate for victim's rights by participating in many local community events and organizations. She is currently the president of the United Way of Adams County and Vice-Chair of the Adams County Children and Youth Services Advisory Board.
She is the epitome of Executive Directors and victim advocates, working collaboratively with community agencies to serve victims and their families, approaching each new situation with compassion and objectivity and advocating for each victim that crosses her path.
On behalf of victims of crime and the victim services field, we thank you Ms. Keeney for your innovation, collaboration and unfailing commitment to victims of crime.