Victim Assistance Team receives Superior Performance in Indian Country award

SUPD

United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn announced that Amy Connor, a paralegal assigned to the U.S. Attorney’s Durango Branch Office, Savannah Joe, former victim specialist with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and now a Victim Advocate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico, and Lisa Manzanares, Victim Services Program Coordinator for the Southern Ute Police Department have received the Superior Performance In Indian Country Award from the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, a division of the Department of Justice. 

“Amy, Savannah and Lisa are exceptional at their job, have big hearts and work hard to help victims of violent crime in Indian Country,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn.  “Amy and her colleagues deserve this prestigious recognition as they focus on crime originating from both reservations.”

In its commendation, the Department of Justice described the Colorado Indian Country victim assistance team’s work in the following manner, “Amy Connor, a paralegal assigned to the Durango Branch Office for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Colorado, Savannah Joe, who was assigned to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and is now with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico, and Lisa Manzanares, with the Southern Ute Police Department have won the Director’s Award for Superior Performance in Indian Country.”

According to the statement from the Department of Justice, “Amy, Savannah and Lisa transformed the prosecution of violent crime in Indian Country in Colorado. By ensuring collaboration between the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian Tribes and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, they have worked together to overcome cultural barriers that hinder Indian Country victims from accessing justice.  Their collective efforts ensure that victims are identified and counseled through culturally informed processes.  Historical distrust that previously discouraged native victims from seeking justice is now addressed.  They keep victims informed, direct them to appropriate services and – when necessary – even transport the victims to court.  In two separate sex assault trials, several sentencings, as well as in numerous ongoing investigations this year, this team educated and empowered victims to speak out against those who harmed them.  By doing this, they deliver superior service for vulnerable victims in Indian Country, making communities safer and enabling victims to heal.”

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