Thursday, May 22, 2014

In The News: San Bernardino County Children’s Assessment Center unveils medical wing dedicated to slain deputy

David Hidalgo, supervising deputy district attorney for the Rancho Cucamonga Criminal Division, chats with Marie Dawson of the Children’s Assessment Center in San Bernardino next to a large canvas photo created in memory of slain San Bernardino County sheriff’s Detective Jeremiah MacKay for whom a wing of the center was dedicated.

By Doug Saunders, The Sun

SAN BERNARDINO >> Tears were shed as Dr. Amy Young dedicated a wing in the new San Bernardino County Children’s Assessment Center to slain sheriff’s Detective Jeremiah MacKay on Wednesday.  “Child abuse is a very dark, ugly and sad thing for a child to go through,” Young said. “Jeremiah was always a ray of sunshine when he was around here.”
MacKay, a Redlands resident, was killed near Barton Flats in the San Bernardino Mountains during the manhunt for rogue ex-LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner in February 2013.

“It’s an honor that you all have done this for him,” Lynette MacKay, the slain deputy’s wife, said. “In a way, this was Jeremiah’s favorite place, so thank you.”
Young, the center’s assistant director, and the center’s manager, Nancy Wolfe, also presented Lynette with a canvassed photo of a sheepdog that was inscribed with the phrase, “Heaven holds a special place for those who do the deed, defenders of the innocent in their time of need.”

Prior to the opening of the original Children’s Assessment Center at 1499 S. Tippecanoe Ave., abused children were taken to the county’s Child Protective Services, which wasn’t equipped to handle many of the different and sensitive aspects investigating cases, according to center officials.

Often victimized children suffered unnecessary trauma in the investigation process, they said.
“We’ve found that the people here are great when dealing with children who have been victimized whether its physical or sexual,” San Bernardino police Lt. Paul Williams said. “They have a talent of talking to children and making them comfortable after a traumatic experience.”

San Bernardino police have an office at the center for detectives to use when investigating sex- or child-abuse crimes.

District Attorney Mike Ramos spoke to the crowd of law enforcement professionals attending the opening.

“I am so proud of the collaborative approach we have formed with our forensic pediatricians at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital and law enforcement partners to better serve our most vulnerable victims, our children,” Ramos said. “Like all victims, they deserve to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect at a time when the world around them seems to be falling apart.”

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