Bossier Sheriffs Office supports victims of crime through Reparations Act

Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington presents a check for $690 to Evonne Cooper this week to help defray the costs of a crime that occurred last year.

The Bossier Sheriff’s Office is helping to raise awareness this week for “National Crime Victims’ Rights Week,” a time to focus on supporting and empowering innocent crime victims in healing and recovery.

Part of that process involves the Crime Victims Reparations Act, which assists victims of certain crimes or their loved ones recoup some of their out-of-pocket expenses for hospitalization, lost wages or burial costs of their loved ones from a violent crime.

Each parish in Louisiana has its own Crime Victims Reparations Investigator, and Sgt. Tina Fruge from the Bossier Sheriff’s Office is the representative for Bossier Parish.

“Victims that have been the victim of a horrific crime can be eligible to be reimbursed for money that they’ve spent…like on burial, on lost wages, on medical bills,” said Sgt. Fruge.

The program is open to anyone who is a Louisiana resident and has suffered a crime here in the state. The crime must be reported to a law enforcement agency within 72 hours, and an application for compensation must be filed within a year of the crime.

Approved claims may be awarded compensation for the following only if they are related to the crime:

  • Reasonable medical and prescription expenses
  • Dental expenses
  • Mental health counseling
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of earning or support
  • Child care or dependent
  • Crime scene cleanup
  • Replacement costs for items made unusable in a criminal investigation

“We know we can’t erase the crime, but we can help ease the pain,” said Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington.  “The payments we provide to crime victims or their loved ones through the Crime Victims Reparations Act is an important step in meeting the financial burdens for victims of crime.”

Sgt. Fruge said that the Bossier Parish Crime Victims Reparations program paid more than $32,000 to crime victims or loved ones in 2015.

Americans are the victims of more than 20 million crimes each year, and crime can touch the lives of anyone, regardless of age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, immigration or economic status.  Sheriff Whittington encourages anyone who has been a victim of crime here in Bossier Parish to contact the Bossier Sheriff’s Office at (318) 965-3500 for possible assistance with the Crime Victims’ Reparations Program.  National Crime Victims’ Rights Week – supporting and empowering innocent crime victims in healing and recovery.