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Okanagan victims of crime benefit from Dacyk's heart and soul

The hard work has paid off.

Well, actually, it’s been paying off for a long time.

It’s just that... most of us were immune to the hard work put in by Penticton’s Dede Dacyk.

“Caring and supporting others defines her,” stated Penticton RCMP Municipal Administration Manager Ken Rodger. “How can someone who has seen the effects of so much trauma over many years maintain such a positive and friendly disposition?

“I really wish I knew as I would share it with everyone I know.”

<who> Photo Credit: Photo Contributed </who> Dede Dacyk and Calypso.

Dacyk was given the Services to Victims Award at the 23rd annual Community Safety and Crime Prevention Awards. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the event to be held virtually.

“I first heard about the award when I got a call from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. I had no idea that I had been nominated for the award. Hearing the news, it was very exciting and humbling,” said Dacyk. “I do this work day after day because I love the work. I am very fortunate to have this position and appreciate the support that I receive from the local detachment and the community.”

Dacyk began as a volunteer for the Penticton/Summerland RCMP Victim/Witness Service Unit 17 years ago.

She has worked her way up to the position of program manager.

“I nominated Dede for a number of reasons. How much time do you have?” continued Rodger with just a hint of pride. “Police Based Victims Services (VS) are the unsung heroes of the Detachment. Lots of time and ink is spent on crimes and the offenders, but very few appreciate the efforts given by a select few to the victims of crime. Dede has dedicated the last 17 years of her life to helping people, victims of crimes in particular, and also the staff and members of the Detachment. People seek her out for respite from the emotional challenges of police work. I try to imagine how strong Dede must be to help all these people carry their personal and emotional burdens and still be the same positive, happy person that she is, but honestly I can’t.

“She is a very rare individual, and we as a Detachment and community are lucky we have her.”

<who> Photo Credit: Photo Contributed </who> Dede Dacyk's service dog Calypso.

The staff and volunteers of the VS unit support hundreds of people each year, not only through the court process, but sometimes for years after, helping them cope and get the assistance they need to try and come to terms with their experiences.

“People that have been traumatised by crime, violence, death or other traumatic events often need someone to help them navigate the system and access the assistance and support they require. That is what Penticton RCMP Victim Services provides,” said Dacyk. “I am very fortunate to have a dedicated team including Calypso, a golden lab trained by Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS) as an accredited facility dog to assist me in providing compassion and direction to those in need.”

The awards acknowledge individuals, non-profit organizations, police and other local partners for their work in advancing crime prevention, restorative justice and other approaches that keep our communities safer. These efforts support provincial initiatives in policing, community safety and victim services.

<who> Photo Credit: Photo Contributed </who> Community Safety and Crime Prevention Awards.

“Dede and her PADS dog Calypso, are fixtures at the Penticton Detachment. Just their presence alone has a positive effect on those they encounter,” said Rodger. “If I were to describe Dede, she is like that one close friend you can always confide in. She has a chair beside her desk, where at any given time of the day, you could find someone sitting there sharing a moment with her. She doesn’t counsel or interrupt, she listens, lets you open up, and helps you to move forward a little lighter."

The was very evident during Penticton's worst day ever, in April of 2019, when four people were killed in a shooting spree.

“Her work with the victims of crime is exemplary, as was pointed out by the families of the 2019 homicide victims during their interview on the front steps of the courthouse" said Rodger. "Dede was their angel. She came to them when they needed her most and was with them every step of the way through the worst ordeal of their lives.”

<who> Photo Credit: Photo Contributed </who> Community Safety and Crime Prevention Awards.

The Community Safety and Crime Prevention Awards were also presented to: Lianne Ritch, Vancouver: Victoria Sexual Assault Centre, Victoria; Gurinder Mann, Surrey; Sandra Bryce, Victoria; Baljinder Kandola, Richmond.

"These award recipients and nominees demonstrate that we can make a real difference in the lives of those who have been impacted by crime, violence and victimization," said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. "On behalf of the government, I want to thank each recipient for their dedication and commitment in keeping our communities safe and helping survivors of crime."

For more information on RCMP Victims Services, click here.

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