It’s not a joke…take stalking seriously

Speak up when you hear jokes about stalking, as though it is funny.  Speak up when you hear any harmful comments by others.  Speak up when you hear a friend say things like, “who would want to stalk her?”

Each of us has the opportunity to challenge ideas and behaviors that support stalking behavior.  It is not okay, it is not just flirting, it is not just a game, it is criminal and it can become deadly, like in our daughter Morgan’s case.

Is there Danger in the Roaring Fork Valley?

peoniasThere is beauty everywhere you look in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado.  Nature is all around, but nature is not the cause of the danger.  The danger is caused by the lack of communication between victims and law enforcement.  Danger because things are not shared with the community.  Danger because of the lack of proper stalking protocol, danger to innocent people because stalking is not being taken seriously.  I would think after what happened to our 20 year old daughter Morgan, that the Garfield County Sheriff would rethink his policies and protocol, but it doesn’t seem like that has happened.  Nothing has changed, we are no longer living there, but I am still being contacted by people that do live there, are currently being stalked, and their cases are being treated the same way as Morgan’s case was treated.

Your elected officials need to know that you’re expecting them to protect, and defend your families and homes, they are supposed to work for you.  They need to know that their job is more than having their officers hand out tickets and fines.  When there is serious crime they need to have officers on their force that have been trained to deal with these situations, situations like kidnapping, rape, sexual assaults against children, stalking, and murder.  And yes, these things do happen in Garfield County, but people usually just don’t get to hear about them.  These are serious situations that happen there, and if there isn’t enough trained officers then they need to bring in another agency to assist, but DO NOT ignore serious crime, DO NOT sweep it under the rug and pretend it is not happening, DO NOT tell the victims and co-victims that there is not enough evidence – have trained law enforcement agents that know how to do an interview, know how to look for evidence, DO NOT just collect salaries to protect and serve and then just do the very least possible, leaving the citizens of your town or county to fend for themselves…there is a reason this is no longer the wild west, there is a reason we have law enforcement – law enforcement is supposed to serve and protect.

Morgan’s felony stalking detective came over for about an hour, once a week, most weeks, and would discuss tactics going forward that he wanted to implement in order to catch her stalker and make an arrest, but then those tactics were never employed – why?  Over and over again he would tell us he could not get approval for any additional hours, so instead of bringing in the dogs to track the stalker in the middle of the night as discussed, instead of doing a stake-out for more than an hour and a half on only one night in 4 months, instead of having batteries in their cameras that actually worked, instead of finding out where their suspect really lived and going there to interview him, instead of putting the suspect under surveillance (and I could go on and on, but won’t), why are they able to afford to put an officer less than a 1/2 mile from our house for 6 hours straight to catch speeders, but could not allocate time for a felony stalking that ultimately ended in a death…someone please tell me how this is even remotely sane, or logical?  Stalking protocol in places like Garfield County need to change, and they need to change now for everyone’s sake!

Right at this very moment there is a victim of stalking in the Roaring Fork Valley (yes, right where Morgan was stalked and killed).  She is scared for her life, and the life of her child.  Her stalker has done this before, he has stalked and kidnapped a former girlfriend, he did jail time for that, and has now been bonded out on this current stalking charge. These are repeat offenders.  They do not stop – the most they do is move on to another target.  At least this victim has a protection order, and if he is caught he should go back to jail.  But the key here is the word “caught” in order to be “caught” there needs to be something in place that will work, and currently there is nothing.

We need law enforcement to have early and effective risk identification, assessment and management to keep victims safe, and hold perpetrators accountable.  Take stalking seriously, speak with the victims, help implement protection orders, and inform the victims of their rights.

Change can, and will be made, and it will come about through the efforts of everyday people who love their families, want them to live a safe life, these are the people that will make this a better world, they will be the ones to change everything…everyday people like you and I.

Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For indeed, that’s all who ever have – Margaret Mead