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Local Authors, Police and City Leaders to Read Children’s Books to Survivors at Anaheim Family Justice Center

Mark your calendars for a great evening of family fun at the Anaheim Family Justice Center.

Susan M. Finch

Children’s author and former Anaheim Web designer Susan M. Finch and illustrator Alison Seda will read their book, Dino Manners, and sign books and posters to raise money for AFJC. They won’t be the only readers. Anaheim Police Chief John Welter and City Attorney Cristina Talley plan to read select passages to the children of family violence survivors.

Also joining the action: Author Michelson Simonsen – creator of the popular character Officer Byrd.

This book signing event will be held at the AFJC, located at 150 West Vermont Avenue on March 5 from 4-7:30pm. The public is invited.

Dino Manners is a creative and humorous way to teach young people how to be a good friend, resolve conflicts and stand up for themselves. The book empowers the invisible kids – those who need a voice and those who need to find their voice for their futures. Plus, it’s chock-full of dinosaur facts.

McDonald’s will provide light refreshments.

“We are thrilled to welcome such accomplished authors to AFJC,” said Kerith Dilley, the foundation’s executive director. “Their messages are right on target – and their generosity is another outstanding example of how our community responds to those in need.”

Dino Manners will be sold at the March 5 book signing and 30% of the retail price will be contributed to the AFJC Foundation. Additionally, donors have purchased advance copies of the book that will be contributed to children served by the AFJC.

Book posters will be signed by the author and illustrator. All profits from the posters will also be contributed to the AFJC Foundation to empower survivors of family violence.

The AFJC is a one-stop center for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse and sexual assault. Through its unique, co-located service delivery model, the AFJC effectively facilitates access to a wide variety of social and public services that survivors of family violence need to break the cycle of violence.

Empowerment and direct victim assistance programs are also offered through the AFJC Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to positively impact the families, whose lives have been affected by family violence, and who seek services through the AFJC.

To donate or for more information, please contact Dilley at kdilley@anaheim.net.

Officer Randy Sany Commended For Role in Solving Double Homicide

The car looked suspiciously similar to the one described in briefing – a Lexus GS 300 stolen during a double murder in Stanton.

Officer Sany

Officer Randy Sany found the car in October while patrolling near a motel in the 3000 block of West Lincoln Ave.

“According to the Orange County Sheriff’s detective assigned to the case, they had no leads in this case until you found the vehicle,” wrote Police Chief John Welter in a recent commendation.

Sany located the Lexus on Oct. 24.

A few days later – after around-the-clock surveillance – the suspected killer was in custody – and sheriff’s detectives noted the key role Sany’s discovery made in helping them make the arrest.

“You are to be commended for a job well done and for your significant contributions to the conclusion of this case,” Welter wrote.

About two months later, Officer Sany was involved in solving another headline-making whodunnit.

While surveilling businesses in the 700 block of North Valley Street, he rolled up on two burglars accused of hitting more than 18 dental labs in Orange County.

It was no accident.

Working with the crime analysis team, Sany was aware of the crime patterns and put himself in a position to catch the burglars in the act, officials said.

Anti-Graffiti Effort Continues to Pay Dividends

Graffiti is down. Awareness is up.

But vigilance is still required.

Volunteers paint over graffiti

Those were the key messages Thursday morning at the quarterly meeting of the city’s two-year-old Anaheim Community Anti-Graffiti Effort.

“It’s a lot better than it was when we started,” Police Chief John Welter said. “Now the question is: What are our long-term strategies to sustain this effort.”

School, city and police officials attempted to answer Welter’s question by outlining a number of ways the community continues to combat tagging.

Some examples include:

– Publicizing a confidential graffiti hotline in the schools. Calls are up.
– A spike in court referrals for convicts assigned to community service.
– Children at the Boys and Girls Club developed and play a Monopoly-type game that illustrates the dangers associated with graffiti.

APD also recently engaged in sting operations to cite stores that sell spray paint to minors. The stores received a $1,000 fine.

A few weeks later, when a different underage decoy attempted to buy spray paint, “the store employees nearly chased the kids out of the shops,” said Sgt. Rick Martinez. “All of these efforts continue to make an impact.”

Hear Ye, Hear Ye – Domestic Violence Victim Needs Aid

A victim of an abusive relationship, “Anna” showed up at the Anaheim Family Justice Center last week ready, willing – but unable – to start anew.

The reason: she can’t hear well.

Anna lost her job in November. Without health insurance and not qualified for Medi-Cal, she can’t afford to replace her eight-year-old hearing aid. Hearing aids typically have a lifespan of five years.

“She had trouble hearing our front office specialist through the thick, bullet-proof glass,” said Kerith Dilley, AFJC Foundation’s Executive Director, “and finally pointed to her right ear and said, ‘I’m hard of hearing – it’s ok to shout.’”

AFJC is making an emergency appeal today to raise $915 to buy her a new hearing device. Last month, AFJC helped a domestic violence victim purchase new clothing after her boyfriend burned everything she owned.

“One AFJC partner is helping Anna pay her rent this month,” Dilley said, saving her from eviction. “But she wants to begin working as soon as possible.”

If you’re interested in donating, please do so here. You can also mail the gift or bring it in person to AFJC Foundation, 150 West Vermont Street, Anaheim, CA, 92805.

Helping Victims and Preventing Violence Top Goals for New AFJC Leader

The woman showed up at the Anaheim Family Justice Center with a newborn in her arms. Her nose was broken. Both eyes were bruised. Her boyfriend didn’t just beat her.
He burned all her clothing.
“It was just so sad,” said Kerith Dilley, AFJC Foundation’s new executive director. “All she had – literally – was the clothing on her back.”

Kerith Dilley

Dilley joined the AFJC team about a month ago. She’s already making major contributions, said Lt. Julian Harvey, who runs the AFJC.
“Kerith’s background is one of making non-profits more successful,” Harvey said. “Her experience, and her passion for the cause will move the Foundation forward and develop even more support in the community. ”
The morning “Maria” arrived, Dilley and her staff sprung into action to raise donations, sending an email to donors and asking Sgt. Rick Martinez to post a note on Anaheim PD’s Facebook page.
The result: Maria and her child went on a $250 shopping spree  – and the AFJC team found her a safe place to recuperate.
“The reality is stories like these are far too common,” said Dilley, who holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.  
Behind the Badge asked her to shed light on AFJC’s goals.
How often does AFJC see women like Maria?
Unfortunately, the AFJC sees women like Maria with all too much frequency – at least one women per day comes through our doors with a story that breaks your heart because of the violence she has suffered – and often at the hands of a family member, no less.

To view AFJC's video on preventing violence click on the screen

What should somebody who has a friend or family member in domestic violence situation do?
Encourage that person to seek help – the first step is with a trusted resource, such as local police, shelter, or other social services organization.  It’s important to begin the healing process and take affirmative steps to end the cycle of abuse.  The AFJC doesn’t require survivors to file a police report or press charges to receive our services, but should a survivor need to, our caring advocates and staff effectively facilitate access to such resources.
Any other tips or advice?
Survivors need to understand that it is not their fault that they have been abused. 
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing AFJC?  

The biggest challenge is that the community need for our unique, co-located service delivery model is spiraling upward, just as the economy slows down and contributions slowly decline. 
What can the community do?

The community can help by spreading the word about the AFJC so survivors of family violence can receive the help and services they need to remove themselves from an unsafe situation and break the cycle of violence.  Additionally, our community can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our work. Gifts of all sizes have a tremendous impact on our survivors.  In fact, the average gift raised for Maria was $25.
What are AFJC’s biggest priorities in 2010?
 Our biggest priorities are to expand our successful Survivors Academy and Direct Victim Assistance Fund and launch a program for children of domestic violence survivors.  
Our Survivors Academy is a 10-workshop program led by a highly trained and culturally competent facilitator that builds the self-esteem of survivors of domestic violence as well as provides them tools and skills to become self-sufficient not only for themselves, but for the rest of their families, especially children.  We piloted the Survivors Academy in September and after the class ended, two of the women enrolled in GED courses, another two enrolled in ESL classes, one has received her U-Visa (for survivors of physical or mental abuse from criminal activity). Another has started a catering business.
AFJC is also creating a Victim Assistance Fund so we have the flexibility to respond to situations such as Maria.  Unfortunately, we’ll likely need several more emergency appeals as this fund gets depleted. But we’re excited to engage the community in empowering victims to begin reconstructing their lives after facing trauma. 
We’re also looking forward to providing mental health and therapeutic services to the children domestic violence survivors.  Research shows that children who grew up in abusive homes – even if they weren’t the victims of abuse – are seven times more likely to become an abuser.   

Cops 4 Kids Christmas Event Makes Front Page of Anaheim Bulletin

The Anaheim Bulletin's front page: Cops 4 Kids

To read this week’s bulletin, click here.

Reiss Helped Transform Anaheim Into Safer City

When Capt. Joe Reiss was a rookie police officer in 1976, Anaheim’s downtown was known for its adult movie theater and problems with heroin addicts.

The 1980s brought new challenges. Street gangs engaged in deadly turf battles. The violence escalated in the early 1990s when 39 people were murdered in a single year.

Flash forward to today.

Heroin and gangs still exist, but they no longer dominate headlines. Anaheim is America’s safest city to visit, and has hosted a World Series, a Stanley Cup Final and dozens of major international events.

And the crime rate?

“There was more crime then than there is now,” said Reiss, who retired last month.

To read the rest of the interview with Capt. Reiss, published in last week’s Anaheim Bulletin, click here.