UPDATED 4.13.2011 3pm by Julie Montanaro
Tallahassee Police Department Victim Advocate Fawnisha Brown is one of four victim advocates to be recognized by the Attorney General and the Governor today.
Brown helped the family and friends of FSU student Vincent Binder cope with his shocking abduction and murder in April 2010. The crime scenes stretched from Tallahassee to St. Augustine to Miami.
Brown tried to make sure Binder's family had the most up to the minute information on the investigation and helped to coordinate their travels from out of state.
Brown says today's award is a tribute to Vincent Binder too and all victims of crime. She says it is satisfying to know that she can serve as a voice for them and their families.
"This is a little bit of Vince that is being reclaimed today for him and for all the victims of crime I've come in contact with," Brown said about the award.
Brown has been a victim advocate at TPD for three years, after working as a patrol officer and dispatcher there. She says as a dispatcher, she always wondered what happened to the people on the other end of the phone. Now she knows and is there to help.
Tallahassee, Fla. – April 13, 2011 -
Today, Attorney General Pam Bondi honored five law
enforcement officers and four victim advocates for their exceptional
dedication to assisting crime victims and their families. The award
recipients were honored during a ceremony hosted by the Attorney General to
recognize National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
“The level of commitment these men and women show to victims is
inspiring,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi. “We are thrilled to have the
opportunity to recognize these heroes today.”
The award recipients are as follows:
· Ms. Fawnisha Brown, Victim Advocate, Tallahassee Police Department –
Ms. Brown was the victim advocate on a kidnap and murder case in
2010. Due to her extensive involvement, Ms. Brown was able to bring a
small sense of order to friends and family of the victim.
· Ms. Lourdes Mendoza, Victim Advocate, Hialeah Police Department – Ms.
Mendoza provided outstanding services to the families of three
victims of a brutal murder that took place in a Hialeah restaurant.
Ms. Mendoza’s relentless work ethic touched many lives in her
community and her efforts displayed the true meaning of victim
· Ms. Debbie Shepard, Victim Advocate, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office –
Ms. Shepard has shown exemplary effort in providing victims with
assistance in numerous domestic violence and child abuse cases
· Detective Bruce Ferris, Gainesville Police Department – Detective
Ferris has served in law enforcement since 1994 and worked
exclusively with domestic violence cases. In addition to developing a
domestic violence program for the Sheriff’s sworn and civilian
employees, Detective Ferris participates in numerous domestic
violence and crisis intervention programs.
· Corporal Donne Brown, Deputy Cory Horne, Deputy Wayne Kelly, Deputy
Martin Lee and Sergeant Sam St. John, all with the Suwannee County
Sheriff’s Office – These deputies demonstrated enormous courage by
rescuing a gun-wounded victim from a burning house. After the victim
was shot, the perpetrator set fire to the house.
· The event’s key note speakers were Drew and Joyce Kesse, parents of
Jennifer Kesse, who has been missing from Orlando since January 2006.
Nominations for the tributes paid today were solicited throughout the state
from criminal justice agencies, as well as from public and private