Ceremony celebrates Crime Victim's Rights legislation
April 8, 2014
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, ILL. -- (April 8, 2014) More than 40 people attended a ceremony celebrating the 30th anniversary of legislation creating crime victims' rights Monday at Rock Island Arsenal.
The annual Quad Cities National Crime Victim's Rights Week ceremony took place in Arsenal Island's Heritage Hall. The event celebrated the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Victims of Crime Act signed by Ronald Reagan in 1984.
The featured speaker for the event was Kirby White, whose daughter Elizabeth was killed by a drunken driver. White said he believes in the "servanthood of life."
"The question really isn't 'why do bad things happen to good people,' White said. "The question is why do bad things happen to people."
He described the incident in which his 19-year-old daughter was killed in a collision with another 19-year-old girl who was intoxicated.
"Both were 19 years old. One confused lost soul and one on her way to console a friend. Might I suggest they were both victims?" White said.
He said his daughter was studying criminal justice and had written a paper on drunken driving a short time earlier.
"Elizabeth knew we are all victims," he said. "What the other girl needed was someone to take her hand. She needed an Elizabeth in her life that night. All of us need that, and need to do that. Reach out. Listen. Console. Care. Love."
Brig. Gen. Daniel Mitchell, deputy commander of Army Sustainment Command, said the military has taken great strides in protecting the rights of crime victims.
"We now have victim's advocates assigned to sexual assault victims," Mitchell said. He pointed out that victims' rights are now as recognized throughout the Army.
"We are committed to supporting the victim -- we will take back our army from those who harm soldiers. We will take back our communities from those who harm our citizens," Mitchell said.
Nicholas Seibert, chief of the RIA Police Department, said victim's rights were not a focus when he first entered law enforcement.
"We were pretty good at catching bad guys, but we kind of left the victim out of the process," he said. "The Department of Defense and the Army have come a long way. We now have special victims counsel -- we have attorneys assigned to the victim and the victim's rights are protected throughout the process."
Following the ceremony, those present were invited to sign the National Crime Victims' Rights Week proclamation dedicating Rock Island Arsenal to respecting and enforcing victims' rights and needs.