Crime victim advocates honor Huntington Police Chief Joe Ciccarelli as part of National Crime Victims' Rights Week
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of West Virginia, along with federal, state and local advocates of crime victims’ rights, presented the 2016 Excellence in Victim Advocacy and Justice Award today to Huntington Police Chief Joe Ciccarelli. The presentation took place at an opening ceremony held in Charleston at the Robert C. Byrd United States Courthouse as part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The purpose of the ceremony was to honor the service of Chief Ciccarelli and to raise awareness about the rights, protections, and services available to crime victims in West Virginia.
Throughout his distinguished public service career, Chief Ciccarelli has worked tirelessly on behalf of crime victims and their families. His dedication has led to significant improvements in how the criminal justice system handles crime victims’ services. His service has had a lasting impact on crime victims’ rights, and the programs he has established to carry on this work reflect his extraordinary advocacy.
Ciccarelli began working with crime victims almost 40 years ago, in October 1977, when he started his career with the Huntington Police Department as a Community Service Officer and Emergency Medical Technician. He was appointed to be a police officer the following year and worked in the Patrol Bureau and Special Investigations Bureau before his appointment as a Special Agent in the FBI in 1984. His 30-year FBI career began with assignments in the St. Louis and Miami areas, and then continued with a return to Huntington in 1998 as the head of the FBI’s Violent Crime and Drug Task Force. In Huntington, Ciccarelli served as the Senior Resident Agent, the Supervisory Senior Resident Agent for Southern West Virginia, and the Team Leader for the FBI’s Northeast Region Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team. While at the FBI, Ciccarelli helped establish the Special Agents Steering Committee and, most significant, the FBI’s Victim Assistance Program. After retiring from the FBI in 2014, he became an investigator for the West Virginia Supreme Court and, later that same year, was appointed Chief of the Huntington Police Department.
“Chief Joe Ciccarelli’s public service exemplifies the vision and leadership necessary to build trust and restore hope to crime victims. This award represents the gratitude of crime victims, their families, and those of us in the criminal justice system and advocacy community who have been fortunate enough to see how his efforts have made a difference,” stated Acting United States Attorney Carol Casto. “I am privileged to have known and worked with Joe for a number of years, as are all of us gathered today to celebrate his service. His commitment to truth and justice has been remarkable, and his determined advocacy has had an incredible impact on crime victims’ rights right here in our community and throughout our entire criminal justice system.”
The event featured officials working in the criminal justice system, agencies and organizations providing services to crime victims, and crime victims themselves who spoke firsthand about their experiences. Many who could not attend sent letters recognizing Chief Ciccarelli’s public service, including United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
This ceremony marks the 16th Annual Operation Reach Out event. Operation Reach Out is a collaborative group of federal, state and local agencies and organizations that work to raise awareness about the rights, protections, and services available to crime victims in West Virginia. The event was made possible through the partnership between Operation Reach Out and the Counseling Connection, an organization that provides counseling, therapy, education, and advocacy throughout West Virginia. The staff of Mt. Olive Correctional Complex was also essential to today’s event.
The event was held in conjunction with the nationwide observance of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, which began on April 10 and runs through April 16, 2016, and locally includes the Walk/Run for Justice 5K on Friday, April 15, 2016, at Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston. Registration is free and starts at 11:00 A.M. The race begins at noon and there will be plaques presented for the top finishers in the women’s and men’s divisions. For more information on the Walk/Run for Justice 5K, please contact Marla Willcox Eddy at 304-340-3676. The theme of National Crime Victims' Rights Week this year is "Serving Victims. Building Trust. Restoring Hope."
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