Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien threw down the gauntlet, or in this case the heels, challenging commissioners to walk in high heel shoes during the ninth annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event May 5 during the City of Delaware’s First Friday.
It is also in conjunction with commissioners declaring the week of April 2-8 as National Crime Victim’s Rights Week in Delaware County.
O’Brien told commissioners the prosecutor’s office has a dedicated group of three people who works with victims of crime. She said the number of people the group works with has greatly increased in the last year.
“Last year we touched the largest number of victims ever,” she said. “We had over 2,000 victims that had contact with our office in one year.”
O’Brien said that opioid use has play a big role in the increase.
“We are currently seeing an epidemic because of our opioid crisis,” O’Brien said. “Those are not the only victims.”
O’Brien said even though the current focus is on opioids and heroin there are still those who are victims of other crimes — assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, and break-ins — who still need help.
O’Brien said the event use to be solely focused to bring awareness to women of sexualized violence. The event is now bringing awareness to all crime victims.
“It knows no gender difference, no economic difference and it knows no class difference,” O’Brien said just before handing out a high heel shoe to each male board member.
“You are aware we have two legs?” asked Commissioner Gary Merrell.
O’Brien said she had the other shoe.
O’Brien said the event last year had an “amazing number” of people in attendance.
“We have good buy-in from the law enforcement, from the fire folks and from the people who come out from the churches,” she said. “It’s a fun way to get people thinking about a very difficult cause.”
In other business commissioners approved:
• Kristine Hodge, Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities superintendent’s request for new funds, new organization keys, supplemental appropriation and transfer of funds for the board of developmental disabilities.
“What we’re looking to do is establish funds that help us safeguard finances in the future,” she said. “We looking at funds for reserve Medicaid account, also money for capital improvements and we’re looking to set money aside, as well severance pay.”
• Fred Fowler, code compliance supervisor, approached commissioners to approve a contract between the board of commissioners and Toole and Associates for plan review and inspection services.
“We have a need now for backup building inspections primarily on the electrical side because of the recent retirement of one of our electrical inspector,” he said. “This agreement will help us maintain our turnaround time.”
• Dawn Huston, assistant county administrator, asked for a renewal and acceptance of the 2017-18 program costs between the county risk sharing authority and the board of commissioners.
“The cost are less than one percent over the cost of last year,” she told commissioners. “We have done a great job I think … when it comes to loss control.”
Huston said due to following training, policies and record checks the county is getting a credit of $33,000.
“I just appreciate everyone’s willingness to participate in the training,” she said. “I believe this is our sixth year in a row to get 100 percent credit.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.