Commissioners proclaim ‘Crime Victims’ Rights Week’

Online program to replace Canadian County’s annual candlelight vigil

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Canadian County Commissioners David Anderson, Jack Stewart and Marc Hader (in back) demonstrate “social distancing” by staying at least six feet away from each other during Monday morning’s commissioners’ meeting in El Reno. Despite restrictions due to COVID-19, the weekly meetings remain open to the public and are now available via teleconference. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar

Senior Staff Writer

EL RENO – Canadian County Commissioners have proclaimed “National Crime Victims’ Rights Week” – although an annual candlelight vigil at the county courthouse will be replaced with an online program.

The three commissioners, at their weekly meeting Monday morning in El Reno, signed a proclamation designating April 19-25 as a week to honor crime victims in Canadian County.

Canadian County Commission Chairman Marc Hader plans to read the proclamation aloud during a Crime Victims’ Rights Week event this week.

“We won’t be able to have our normal victims’ vigil,” Assistant District Attorney Tommy Humphries advised county commissioners. “We’re working this week on doing something with a recorded Zoom (video conferencing app) meeting like we did with protective orders.

“We’ll still put something together but it’s something we’ll push out on social media.”

Over the past several decades, the Canadian County District Attorney’s Office has presented a candlelight vigil in April for crime victims, survivors and family members inside the courtroom. The vigil has featured speakers and the presentation of colors by an honor guard.

That will change this year due to COVID-19 restrictions that forbid gatherings of 10 people or more.

Courthouses and judicial offices across Oklahoma have either closed or have greatly reduced public access due to Gov. Stitt’s emergency disaster declaration.

HELPING CRIME VICTIMS, SURVIVORS

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week provides an opportunity to recommit to “ensuring that accessible, appropriate and trauma-informed services are offered to all victims of crime,” according to the proclamation approved Monday by Canadian County Commissioners.

The document reads, in part, that Canadian County is “dedicated to strengthening victims and survivors in the aftermath of crime, building resilience in our communities and our victim service providers, and bringing hope and healing to all victims and survivors.”

The annual observance reaffirms Canadian County’s commitment to “creating a victim service and criminal justice response” that helps crime victims, according to the proclamation.

County leaders are expressing gratitude to community members, victim service providers and criminal justice professionals who help crime victims find justice, support and peace.

In other business at their Monday morning meeting, Canadian County Commissioners approved:

  • A $1,237.50 funding request from the Canadian County Public Facilities Authority to transfer use tax revenues for county fairgrounds’ project expenses. This amount covers a Bass Law Firm invoice to prepare a letter to El Reno city leaders about supplying water for the new fairgrounds’ property.
  • Paying a $1,185 invoice from Circuit Engineering District 8 for five bridge inspections.

Meanwhile, Canadian County Sheriff Chris West reported the current population at the county jail – 131 inmates, including five out-of-county.