What's Happening at The Porter County Sheriff's Office
Officer George Gonzalez Honored
Mayor's Commission on Domestic Violence
officer chosen top domestic violence officer
for his dedication to solving
BY KEN KOSKY Times Staff Writer
Posted on Wednesday, March 13,
VALPARAISO -- People who are victimized by domestic violence these days in
Porter County find the "system" does more to help them than it did in years
past. Part of the reason is groups of people concerned about domestic violence have
been meeting for years to push for changes. One of the people involved since the
beginning is Porter County Sheriff's Office Officer George Gonzalez.
Gonzalez was honored for his work Tuesday by being named Domestic Violence
Officer of the Year for 2002. The award, presented by the Mayor's Commission on
Domestic Violence & Abuse in Valparaiso and Portage, is expected to be
handed out annually.
"I'm really grateful," Gonzalez said after receiving congratulations and a
plaque. "I've been a member of the justice committee (of the Valparaiso mayor's
commission) since its formation. ... We've been able to make a difference in
dealing with the problem of domestic violence."
Lavoyn Hygema, the chairperson of the Valparaiso Justice Committee and
someone who is active with The Caring Place domestic violence shelter, said
Gonzalez was chosen as this year's recipient because he always goes above and
beyond what is asked of him. He was involved in the domestic violence issue back when it wasn't a popular
cause, she said.
Gonzalez has been involved in training other officers about domestic violence
for years and has pushed for changes in policy and state law that make
protective orders more effective and allow officers to arrest suspects in
battery cases without witnessing the crime.
In addition to his work with domestic violence, Gonzalez is a former SWAT
team member and is on the department's motorcycle patrol unit and the color
guard. He's also the liaison to the parking police and wrote the grants that
helped the department obtain in-car video cameras, digital cameras and laptop
"We are really proud of George's efforts," said Sheriff's Department Chief
Deputy Dave Lain.
"What George has been able to accomplish over the past few years with his
work on the problem of domestic violence ... this plaque he received says it