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Crime victim is also police officer

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April 10, 2003

Americus-- The Sumter County Victim's Assistance Program handles 15 to 20 new clients a week.

Their clients are all victim's of crime. Thursday, a victim's rights vigil in Sumter County honored those people who have been victimized as well as those who help defend them. One woman is both.

Gwen Dawkins is the victim of a crime, "My ex husband used me as a punching bag."

Gwen Dawkins is also Police Chief Dawkins, "No, that's not the reason why I went into law enforcement, my brother is GSP and my hero that's why I went into law enforcement but it added to after my event."

Today, the Plains Police Chief is taking part in the Sumter County Victim's Rights Vigil--reading the poem "An Officer's Prayer". Dawkins reads, "Please give me understanding with the young and the old and let me listen with attention until their stories are told."

For Chief Dawkins, these words have deep meaning, "You really want to be able to reach out and wrap them up in your arms, but being a former victim myself, it's not easy to wrap them up in your arms when you have the job behind it. But you do the job behind it to put them in a better place so they can carry on."

Gwen Dawkins has carried on, "I've got a great husband now of 30 years, it does change, it will change, you have to let it change."

Thirty years later this respected Police Chief wants to help others do the same, "I hope Albany PD is flooded tonight, with people saying I need help. If they did that we've accomplished a lot."

Police Chief Gwen Dawkins says she always puts victims first in a crime situation. Many times, she herself will stay with them until a family member they trust arrives.

Posted at 4:26 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com