Thu08282014

Community

Police association donates to child abuse center


Photo By: Diego Abeloos/Town Crier
Photo Diego Abeloos/Town Crier

Children’s Interview Center Coordinator Trish Martinez accepts a PlayStation 3 donated by Los Altos Peace Officers Association representatives Abe Velasco, left, and Chris Brooks.

Two members of the Los Altos Peace Officers Association recently gave back to an agency that serves as a key partner in fighting child abuse crimes.

Los Altos Police detective Abe Velasco and officer Chris Brooks earlier this month donated a new PlayStation 3 and several new games – wrapped playfully in yellow police crime tape – to the Santa Clara County Children’s Interview Center (CIC) in San Jose.

CIC is a regional resource used by local law enforcement agencies (including Los Altos) and Child Protective Services to interview children who may be victims of physical, sexual or emotional abuse. According to CIC coordinator Trish Martinez, the center typically serves more than 400 children and their families annually and is funded by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and the San Jose Police.

Martinez noted that the new video-game system, donated on behalf of the Peace Officers Association, will serve as a welcome temporary distraction for child abuse victims at the center, which aims to provide a comforting, stress-free environment for young victims.

Velasco, who currently serves as the association’s president, added that the center plays a crucial role in making child victims feel safe following a traumatic experience, allowing them to open up to investigators about the things they’ve experienced.

“The (Peace Officers Association) is always looking for ways to give back, and the CIC is a good fit,” Velasco said. “This (donation) will directly help to make a child in a bad situation just a little happier. … There’s nothing we can do to make their pain go away, but if a PlayStation can make them smile for five minutes, that’s priceless to us.”

Martinez added that CIC also provides each child with a blanket and a stuffed animal for an added touch of comfort, given otherwise bleak circumstances. The donated PlayStation, she said, allows her to offer yet another outlet for older children at the center.

“This is huge – we get older children here all the time,” Martinez said of the association’s donation. “A big thing here is I don’t want (older child victims) to feel like we’re treating them like a baby. This is amazing. I’m so excited.”

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