Although a certain candidate in the race for D.A. is claiming that she will be establishing a Victim Witness Division if elected, the Division has, in fact, been around for some time now. Amy and the incredibly kind-hearted people that work with her on a daily basis have been helping the victims of violent crime since before I ever came to work for the Office.
Victim Witness first becomes involved in a victim's life when they send out preliminary letters to victims of all crimes (violent or not), seeking to gather information for Victim Impact Statements that will become relevant in the punishment of any given defendant.
When the case involves a homicide, they make quick efforts to locate the next of kin of the victims and let them know of all services that victims in Texas are entitled to.
While cases are pending, they will respond at a moment's notice when a prosecutor needs someone to help them when they meet with victims. No seasoned prosecutor would even think about sitting down with the child victim of a sexual assault without a representative of victim witness sitting there with them to assist.
When cases go to trial, Victim Witness will often serve as the host to the victim's families. Helping them with all their travel arrangements, keeping them updated on what is happening in court, and holding them when they break down. I can't put into words the job these ladies do on a daily basis, because it is, quite frankly, amazing.
The Office literally could not function without them. Although it's not a complete list, I know that my job couldn't have been done on many occasions without the work of people like Amy, Alex Moscoso, Diana Maldonado, and Colleen Watkins. (NOTE: Speaking of Diana, get well soon and get back to work!)
The job, in and of itself, is amazing.
The people who staff it are even more so.
Amy Smith has served as the leader of that Division since I can remember, and she was the perfect person for it. Amy has the perfect blend of compassion, caring, and toughness to handle it. And trust me, it is not a job for sissies.
Amy's loss from the Office will be immeasurable, and it will certainly be CrimeStopper's gain.
Good luck in all your future endeavors, Amy!
And on behalf of the countless victims of crime that you (and everyone in V.W.) have helped over the years, a simple "thank you" will never be enough.
You all are irreplaceable.