MONTE VISTA - At their last coffee with a cop meeting the Monte Vista Police Department was presented with the 2019 Dale Ruff Protector of Children award from the San Luis Valley Children’s Advocacy Center Tu Casa, Inc. Theresa Ortega who is the co-interim executive director gave a little background information about the award and why the Monte Vista Police Department was chosen.
“This award is called the Dale Ruff Protector of Children award. Dale Ruff was a police chief in Sanford Colorado and was yet another example of someone who really works with the model that we work with. Who would refer cases and just really wanted to do the best for children and serve them when they went through the cases that we’ve talked about,” said Ortega adding, “Unfortunately he did pass away a few years ago. And so, in his honor we came up with this award. This award is to recognize law enforcement primarily. We’ve extended it out a little this year just because we felt that there was a really good reason for it.”
The MVPD was nominated by a member of the CAC’s multidisciplinary team. This member wanted to remain anonymous. According to Ortega he felt that the MVPD’s participation in the multidisciplinary team model is an example of inter-agency cooperation and communication. He also felt that their consistent use of CAC services, such as forensic interviewing, advocacy, and SANE services showed how serious the MVPD takes these types of cases. It was also said that the MVPD is easy to work with and is always willing to listen and learn.
Ortega also shared another factor that made the MVPD ideal for this award. The MVPD makes the second highest number of referrals for services of any other department in the San Luis Valley. Second only to the Alamosa Police Department. In 2019 the MVPD referred 35 cases involving children. According to Ortega, most were victims of child sexual abuse, and some were victims of physical abuse, neglect or they had witnessed a crime.
“This award is relatively new. The award is a year behind and we apologize for that. It’s not a big secret that Tu Casa almost closed its doors last year. And we had to forego our fundraiser around this time last year. Had that not of happened, Monte Vista would have received this award last year. It’s for 2019 so we’re trying to be retroactive and make sure people get recognized the way they should,” said Ortega.
After the department was presented with the award Monte Vista Police Chief George Dingfelder had a few words to share saying, “I think it’s really important to recognize the CAC for everything that they do. Like I said, being a new chief and seeing how serious these guys have taken especially these types of crimes. Our most vulnerable victims are children and the fact that these guys have always taken it very serious way before I got here is a testament to what they’ve done and how important it is to do this.”