OSBI agent wins prestigious award from US Department of Justice
The Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime, a division of the Office of Justice Programs, presented Special Agent Ryan Woolley of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation’s (OSBI) Crime Scene Unit the National Crime Victim Service Award. This National Crime Victims’ Service Awards category recognizes extraordinary individuals and programs that provide services to victims of crime.
“Throughout his career as an investigator, Agent Woolley has been extraordinarily sensitive to the needs of crime victims, working to help them navigate what can be a difficult and overwhelming process,” said OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katherine T. Sullivan. “We honor him for being diligent in his duties and for being a compassionate presence for crime victims, as well as a source of constant support.”
Working across the state Agent Woolley realized that victims and their families are often left in limbo regarding whom they should contact for victim services after initial investigations. Recognizing this gap in services, Agent Woolley assembled a victim handbook with color-coded maps with phone numbers coinciding with the jurisdictions where crimes occurred.
The handbook includes information on the procedures for court from start to finish, how to receive information on convicted offenders, websites for victims’ support and counseling, and contact information for the district attorneys’ offices, medical examiners and OSBI victim advocates in the various regions and districts.
While similar victim handbooks may be provided to victims by some local police departments, Agent Woolley realized this was not as likely in large agencies, like OSBI, which covers 77 counties and numerous district attorneys’ offices across the state.
Agent Woolley also secured funding by working with agency Victim Support Services to have the handbooks printed and distributed to the six regions of OSBI.
“By providing these informational handbooks to victims, agents are able to offer support to victims while working leads and pursuing their investigative duties,” said OVC Director Jessica E. Hart. “Special Agent Woolley has used his skills and talents to help those victims who so desperately need it, and his efforts have paid dividends for law enforcement in terms of more effective investigations and better outcomes.”
The Office for Victims of Crime leads communities across the country in observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. President Reagan proclaimed the first Victims’ Rights Week in 1981, calling for greater sensitivity to the rights and needs of victims. This year’s observance took place April 19-25 and featured the theme, “Seek Justice | Ensure Victims' Rights | Inspire Hope.” The award recipients were honored privately and virtually with friends, family and Office of Justice Programs leadership.