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Laramie County Commissioners recognize child abuse awareness, public telecommunicators


CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Laramie County Commissioners adopted two resolutions during their afternoon meeting, recognizing April as Child Abuse and Awareness month and proclaiming April 9–15 as National Public Telecommunicators Week.

Child Abuse Awareness Month

In Laramie County, 148 children received child forensic interviews at Safe Harbor, a social service organization in Cheyenne, according to the Child Abuse Awareness resolution.

Per the resolution, the organization found that 68 children were victims of sexual abuse, 34 of physical abuse, eight of neglect and one of child pornography. Moreover, 12 witnessed domestic violence and 23 were exposed to drug usage.

Victims of child abuse and neglect are known to be at a higher risk for experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, low academic achievement, drug use, juvenile delinquency, teenage pregnancy and adult criminality.

During the meeting, Commissioner Gunnar Malm thanked organizations like Safe Harbor for their work in addressing local child abuse cases.

“The problems that child abuse leads to later in life are many,” he said. “If we can do better as a society and as a community, we’ll have better outcomes for our youth.”

Chairman Troy Thompson also expressed his appreciation for the organization.

“Those numbers in the resolution are eye-opening and sad,” he said during the meeting. “We appreciate you guys.”

Each April, Laramie County joins with Safe Harbor, the Laramie County Child Protection Team, the Laramie County Department of family Services, the Cheyenne Police Department, the Laramie County Sheriff’s office, the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office, the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center SANE Nurse program, CASA of Laramie County, the Wyoming Citizen Review Panel and Parents as Teachers in an effort to prevent abuse and neglect through outreach, education and intervention. 

Public Telecommunicators Week

Public Telecommunicators week is celebrated annually nationwide during the second week of April. It is meant to raise awareness about the work of telecommunicators in the police, fire and medical services.

“The safety of our police officers and firefighters is dependent upon the quality and accuracy of information obtained from citizens who telephone the Laramie County Combined Communications Center,” the Public Telecommunicators Week resolution states.

As a former volunteer firefighter and 911 caller himself, Commissioner Buck Holmes called telecommunicators “unsung heroes.”

“The people who man those phones are really the unsung hero for a lot of the incidences that go on not in Laramie County, but nationwide,” he said during the meeting.

Commissioner Linda Health also voiced her gratitude for the family members who support dispatchers.

“What those dispatchers hear on those phone calls are quite disturbing and when they go home they try very hard to leave those calls at the door of the office. That doesn’t always happen,” she said during the meeting. “I would like to thank those family members for standing behind those dispatchers.”