Porter County Sheriff's Office

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Officer George Gonzalez Honored

Honored by Mayor's Commission on Domestic Violence

County officer chosen top domestic violence officer
for his dedication to solving the problem.

BY KEN KOSKY Times Staff Writer
Posted on Wednesday, March 13, 2002

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 computers. "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 all."

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