Crime victims and advocates honored

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette recognized Michigan victims of crime and violence during the 30th Annual Crime Victims Vigil at the Michigan Capitol, and awarded the Crime Victim Foundation’s Outstanding Advocate for Victims of Crime Award to Assistant Attorney General Angie Povilaitis.

The 30th Annual Crime Victims Vigil included the awarding of the “Champion for Crime Victims” Lifetime Service Award, the Law Enforcement Beyond the Call of Duty Award and the Award for Outstanding Advocate for Victims of Crime.

The “Champion for Crime Victims” award went to Iron County prosecutor Melissa Powell. For many years, Powell was the only prosecutor employed by the county, including while trying a serial killer. Powell works with victims regardless of the hours in order to ensure they feel comfortable, and she continues to work to ensure victims’ rights are honored and exercised.

The Beyond the Call of Duty Award was presented to Sergeant William Darnell of the DeWitt Township Police Department. While responding to a domestic violence call, Darnell was shot multiple times but continued protecting the individual in danger. He is being honored for his courage and commitment to the community he serves.

The second recipient of the Beyond the Call of Duty is Detective/Lt. Andrea Munford from Michigan State University Police Department. Dt/Lt. Munford was often the first person a survivor of Nassar encountered and, as many have said, she “started by believing.” She helped give survivors a voice and was a key part of the investigation and prosecution of Nassar.

Finally, the Outstanding Advocate for Victims of Crime was awarded to Assistant Attorney General Povilaitis for her exemplary work as a lead prosecutor in the Larry Nassar case. She not only was integral in sending him to jail for the rest of his life but she gave a voice to hundreds of survivors. Povilaitis has dedicated her career to providing justice to the survivors of sexual assault no matter how much time has passed. She does this not only by prosecuting their cases but doing so while offering support and advocacy for the survivors of these horrific crimes.

The Crime Victims Vigil is an annual event hosted by the Crime Victim Foundation and takes place at the Capitol every April during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. It draws local and statewide law enforcement to the State Capitol to bring awareness to the victims of crime.