By Jalayne Robinson, LMSW
TDCAA Victim Services Director
In November 2022, at the Key Personnel & Victim Assistance Coordinator Conference, board elections were held for the North-Central Area (Regions 3 & 7) and West Area (Regions 1 & 2). Jake Wright (KP) of the County Attorney’s Office in Palo Pinto County was elected as the North-Central Area representative, and Karen Suarez (VAC) of the 112th DA’s Office was elected as the West Area representative. Adina Morris (KP & VAC) of the DA’s Office in Palo Pinto County from Region 7 was elected as Chairperson.
Two new members were recently appointed to the Board: Allison Bowen (Region 7) of the CDA’s Office in Tarrant County as a Designated VAC representative, and Casey Hendrix (Region 6) of the CDA’s office in Collin County as a Designated KP representative.
The Key Personnel–Victim Services Board assists in preparing and developing operational procedures, standards, training, and educational programs. Regional representatives serve as a point of contact for their regions. To be eligible, each candidate must have the permission of the elected prosecutor, attend the elections at TDCAA’s KP–VAC Conference or be appointed, and have paid TDCAA membership dues. If you are interested in training and want to give input on speakers and topics at TDCAA conferences for KP and VACs, please consider running for the Board. Elections are held each November at TDCAA’s KP–VAC Conference. If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected].
Below I have included introductions and photos from our newest Board members.
Director of Victim Services, Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office
“Thank you for your interest in me as a TDCAA Board member. It is an honor and a privilege to be a representative for my region. Throughout my career as a victim service professional, I have long admired TDCAA’s work. Its efforts have served as a reference to develop a successful victim service team in Tarrant County. I look forward to contributing a wealth of knowledge concerning victim rights, administrative processes, and best practices for working with victims, as well as the desire to exchange ideas with other experts in the criminal justice field.
“Briefly, I have listed a few of my accomplishments:
• graduate degree in psychology from Hunter College in New York;
• Before coming to the DA’s office, I began a victim advocate program for homeless victims in Fort Worth. The program ensured homeless individuals were included in the criminal justice process and afforded their rights as crime victims;
• 20-plus years of professional experience in social services;
• over 15 years of professional experience in the criminal justice field, most in leadership positions;
• crime victim rights workshop facilitator for Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office and the Tarrant County community;
• serve as a resource for crime victim liaisons with law enforcement agencies in Tarrant County. I also host quarterly meetings with other liaisons and VACs to ensure comprehensive services for victims; and
• I served on the 2021 Victim Impact Statement Revision Committee.”
Legal Assistant & Victim Assistance Coordinator, 112th District Attorney’s Office
“I retired from teaching after 34 years with the Fort Stockton Independent School District. In May 2016, I was hired as a legal assistant and victim assistance coordinator for the 112th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Learning how to effectively serve victims and be a competent legal assistant has been an ongoing process. As Albert Einstein said, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” I believe there are unlimited possibilities for growth, learning, and improvement through education, mentoring, and training. I am honored to serve as a representative on the TDCAA Key Personnel–Victim Services Board.”
Office Manager, County Attorney’s Office in Palo Pinto County
“I began working as the office manager for the County Attorney’s Office in November 2020 and was elected to the Board in November 2022. Some of the duties of the Office Manager position include managing misdemeanor cases from intake through disposition, working with victims to obtain protective orders, preparing mental health orders, researching cases, financial record keeping, and much more. I am very much looking forward to serving with the other dedicated professionals on the Board and contributing in any way I can!”
Community Engagement Coordinator, Criminal District Attorney’s Office in Collin County
“As the Community Engagement Coordinator, I’m responsible for expanding awareness of our impact through social media, our community events, and specialized programs. I’m thrilled to assume this new role within our office, as I work directly with our District Attorney, Greg Willis, who is a humble, compassionate, and fearless leader. I look forward to using the knowledge from my previous role as a VAC and my current role within our office to represent Region 6 as your new Designated Key Personnel representative.”
Victim services consultations
As TDCAA’s Victim Services Director, my primary responsibility is to assist elected prosecutors, VACs, and other prosecutor office personnel in providing support services for crime victims in their jurisdictions. I am available to provide training and technical assistance to you via phone, via email, in person, or on Zoom. I can tailor individual or group training specifically for your needs. The training and assistance are free of charge. Are you a new VAC? This training would be perfect for you!
If you would like to schedule a free consultation, please email me at Jalayne.Robinson @tdcaa.com. Many offices across Texas are taking advantage of this free training.